Bright Young Things, Or Oversexed Young Things?

Victoria’s Secret’s new (and controversial) Bright Young Things line begs a bigger question: how young is too young for our kids to be exposed to sex?

Last month, an open letter written to Victoria’s Secret by a Texas father went viral on the Internet and it is some good stuff. In the letter, Reverend Evan Dolive chastises the lingerie retailer for it’s new Bright Young Things line, which is to be marketed towards middle school age girls. Why anyone in their right mind would think an 11 or 12 year old child needs lacy black hipsters that say “Wild” or a thong that says “Call Me” — or a thong at all for that matter — is so completely beyond me it makes me dizzy with rage. I agree with Reverend Dolive that this line sends the wrong message to young girls, a message that says “her self-worth and acceptance by others is based on the choice of her undergarments.” I also agree that it “thwarts the efforts of empowering young women” and “gives the message that women are sex objects.” It’s just sick, sick, sick. 

When I listen to the parents of tween children, I’m terrified to think how much more will change in a decade with the way things seem to be going. The hormones and social minefield that is middle school are scary enough, but unlike when I was a kid, this generation has the overwhelming influence of Facebook, You Tube, and pop tarts like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, which seems to be doing nothing but overstimulating and over-sexing them. Kids are hitting puberty earlier, but maturing later. And while this is the supposed Age of the Helicopter Parent, these kids are having sex, trying drugs, and approaching the world with the cavalier “I’ve got it all figured out” attitude usually reserved for high school seniors.

I don’t know whether this supercharged “maturation” is because of soulless marketing campaigns like Bright Young Things or corporations are just capitalizing on the social trends created by other vices of the 21st century. But as a parent, even the parent of a preschooler, it’s a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. I’m so worried about the peer pressure that Coraline may face in middle school that I already have rules like not wearing leggings as pants (that is without a dress or skirt over them) or not playing with make-up. I hear a lot of parents say that it’s getting so hard to protect their kids, to keep them kids while they’re still kids. It’s just not fair, to anyone.

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What do you think about the Bright Young Things line? Do you think it’s as inappropriate as I do? If not, why? What do you do at home with your tweens to keep clothing choices and behavior age-appropriate?

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