Victoria's Secret tries to calm outraged parents

The retailer's new 'Bright Young Things' slogan and suggestive underwear lead to complaints of crossing the line.

By Kim Peterson Mar 26, 2013 1:05PM
Pedestrians walk past a Victoria's Secret store in New York (Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)How young is too young for Victoria's Secret?

That's the question parents are grappling with after the lingerie retailer debuted a spring break collection with the slogan "Bright Young Things."

Victoria's Secret, owned by Limited Brands (LTD), says that the collection falls under its Pink line, which is targeted at college-aged women. But it seems that the word "young" in the slogan, plus items such as panties with "call me" written on the front, are all a bit much for parents. People worried that Victoria's Secret was going after teens, tweens and younger age groups.

The resulting uproar caused Victoria's Secret to take to its Facebook page Monday to explain. "Despite recent rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women," the company said. "'Bright Young Things' was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.

More than 1,300 people commented on that Facebook posting, with some defending the store and saying that parents need to be more vigilant with their children. "I don't believe VS would try to market 'suggestive' comments to the young girls," wrote one. "Get real ladies!"

Others lectured Victoria's Secret, saying that the company was backpedaling under fire. "It makes me sick to see such crass-like stuff on your Bright Young Things collection, it's tacky," wrote one man. "I don't have a daughter and sure wouldn't like to see some teens under the age of 18 wearing such tasteless wear."

An open letter to Victoria's Secret about the issue has gone viral on the Internet. The letter is penned by Evan Dolive, who says he is an ordained minister and a father of a 3-year-old girl.

"As a dad, this makes me sick," Dolive said about the "Bright Young Things" issue.

Here's more from the letter:
I believe that this sends the wrong message to not only my daughter but to all young girls. I don’t want my daughter to ever think that her self-worth and acceptance by others is based on the choice of her undergarments. I don’t want my daughter to ever think that to be popular or even attractive she has to have emblazon words on her bottom.

I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior? Do I want to go to Texas A&M or University of Texas or some Ivy League School? Should I raise awareness for slave trafficking or lack of water in developing nations? There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves. . . not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a "call me" thong?

I want my daughter to know that she is perfect the way she is; I want my daughter to know that no matter what underwear she is wearing it does not define her.

I believe that this new line "Bright Young Things" thwarts the efforts of empowering young women in this country. "Bright Young Things" gives off the message that women are sex objects. This new line promotes it at a dangerously young age.

More on moneyNOW

Tags: LTD
Mar 26, 2013 2:06PM
OK, then don't buy your 3 year old daughter Victoria Secret underwear - problem solved.
Mar 26, 2013 2:25PM

I am a Christian, and I wear Victoriassecret undergarments. why is it important that I mention I am a Christian? Simple-because that is the most important thing about me, it is who I am, and just because I wear Victoriassecret undergarments makes me no less of a Christian. I find their material to be rather comfortable, and it actually does empower me as a young woman, being 23 years old and somewhat college age. Wearing a matching bra and panty makes me feel sexy, and attractive. It does not define me and it is for no one elses eyes except for my own-being that i am unmarried. I can understand your concern, modesty is a virtue, nay, a command from God, which I obey and I am sure so does your 3 year old daughter. But there is nothing NOT modest about my intentions, which is to feel like a woman, because I am one, and VS does a good job at helping women around the nation feel like one. You don't know the hearts and intentions of the young women as well as women of all ages who buy VS merchandise, and neither do I, its not your job to judge or critize. Especially being a man. So let them be, and raise your daughter in the LORD, so you wont have to worry about what kind of undergarments she is wearing or who she might or might not show them too (hopefully after she is married and not before).

Mar 26, 2013 2:20PM
I agree with Biff Biffington .... as a parent there is no need to even look at a Victoria's Secret catalog if your daughter is only 3!!! VS is for ADULT ladies, not children.
Mar 26, 2013 2:07PM



These items are for adult aged women. Parents of young children need to relax and understand that distinction....

Mar 26, 2013 2:47PM
Simple rules apply. If you don't like them, don't buy them.
Mar 26, 2013 2:36PM

Why is the ordained minister looking at VS anyway? And furthermore, the reference to his 3 year old daughter is just ridiculous!

Mar 26, 2013 3:04PM

So when your 13 year old has pictures of her " call me thong"  sent from her cell phone to the boy she likes go viral in her school don't be surprised. And when she becomes depressed or flips the other way and shows up pregnant at 14 those same parents will find a place to lay the blame.

Kids ar inundated with marketing messages that if they are not wearing the "right" brand, have a smart phone, not have what every one esle has they are worthless. Talk about drinking the kool-aid!!Advertising and marketing has more influence on our society and values than any other solitary thing I can think of. No, not for all, but for a large enough majority to continue the multi-billion dollar industry. Stupid parents buy into it through producing the cash for them to continue the consumer free-fall to financial disaster and then scratch their heads wondering what happened when their young offspring have to move into the basement and "need a little help"! Of course they are targeting their next generation of spenders and the multitude of "baby mammas" and baby daddies" doesn't seem to be enough of a wake up call.

Mar 26, 2013 2:23PM
Fo all those who don't get the outrage coming from parents and don't believe that such a "high class" store would target such items to young girls let me remind you about A&F thongs made for girls as young as middle school. Or their line of padded push up bikini's for girls in the same age bracket. Please don't be so nieve to think that a company wouldn't market something like this line to young girls if it makes them a buck. But when the outrage starts it's easy to backpeddle and say that was never their goal.
Mar 26, 2013 2:19PM
Uproar over panties? Those parents need therapy. Do they have nothing better to do with their time than attack panties? Glad to know that these parents have solved so many problems that they can go after panties that don't suit their tastes.
Mar 26, 2013 2:42PM

Provocative garments for teens, tweens and preteens.

Free condoms.


Rape in High School

You tell me which way society is headed and who is responsible.

Mar 26, 2013 2:24PM
most people don't go to victoria's secret unless they have the money to spend on the items in the store. that **** is expensive, and i don't see parents buying expensive underwear for the kids. i didn't get anything from vs until i was 18 or 19. no way in hell would my parents have bought me any thing from there when i was younger. not to mention that the vs items in my house when growing up were my mom's. its highly unlikely the victoria's secret would be marketing their undies to anyone under the age of 18. use some common sense people. 
Mar 26, 2013 3:06PM
I have to say that some of the models and advertising that these kinds of clothing companies do does make me feel a little uncomfortable.  

About a year ago I remember there was this HUGE poster of a girl in nothing but a skimpy bra and panties hanging in two or three places at the mall.  I'm not a prude or anything, but the model looked like she was 14 or 15 years old.  It was just unsettling to see that ad, at least 25 feet tall, in public.
Mar 26, 2013 4:27PM

Maybe parents shouldn't be dumping there young girls at the mall unsupervised to go and

purchase these items. Parents need to step up and be responsible for there children.


Mar 26, 2013 2:26PM

are they so stupid that they don't know pedophiles will love this stuff , or do they even care? why not let kids be kids instead of trying to make them grow up too fast  ? Bombard them with sex and that is what they will think about ; this is a perfect example of why we have a problem today.


Mar 26, 2013 2:55PM

Abercrombie and Fitch have been marketing to the youth for years.

I guess VS is trying to corner their part of the market.

I don't care about marketing to adults but not children.

Mar 26, 2013 2:55PM
I'm not defined by the price of my clothes, nor on where I shop.  That being said, ladies do like the undies that VS sells.  I don't think VS needs to stoop to the 'Brand on the Butt' concept.  You'd have better results marketing to the more mature market.  VS should be something you get to have as a grownup - not as a kid.  Just a stupid marketing decision - bright young things... means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  Not all of it nice.
Mar 26, 2013 3:30PM

Ever heard of saying NO!  That's right if you don't want your daughter to wear it then say NO!  Say it with me.... I know it might be a new word to some of you mothers.... but let us try.... NNOO!

Mar 26, 2013 2:40PM
Mar 26, 2013 2:17PM
But calorie and fat laden Happy Meals are perfectly fine! 
Mar 26, 2013 2:34PM

when is a child no longer young? is it when they reach 26 years of age and are no longer

permitted on mommy's and daddy's health insurance?

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