Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sexualization of Girls--The Outrageous Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret’s “Bright Young Things” line features lace-trimmed thongs for tweens (ages 9 to 14)  that have the words, “Call Me”, "I Dare You" and “Feeling Lucky” printed on the crotch. Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer of Limited Brands, a unit of Victoria's Secret, said these would appeal to the young girls because they would like, above all, to appear grown up.  Panties such as these are blatant objectification of women, and now young girls are made victims of sexualization.  Carrie Goldman explains that sexualization occurs when a person’s value is measured by his or her sexual appeal and is sexually objectified.  The process of socialization enforces gender based stereotypes--the idea that make-up and clothes are “cool” dominates the culture of the school girls.  Not only do the girls try to appear “cool”, but they are also socialized by media to attract men.  The “Call Me” panties seem like a lure to prostitution and profiteers like Victoria Secret are the pimps. They are not the least concerned about the childhood of these girls or about the degradation of women but perpetuate “the beauty myth”—a term coined by Naomi Wolf to indicate the entrapment of women into the never ending cycle of clothes, diets, make-up and exercise routines to achieve an elusive ideal of feminine beauty that men appreciate.  What is the message of “Call Me?” When it is on underwear, are these girls expected to strip and show their crotch? And “Feeling Lucky”?  These are sexually explicit messages and have no place in a girl or a woman’s life.  Unfortunately, these girls are too young to comprehend that such messages do not empower them.  

The following video is an excerpt from the feminist, author and film maker Jean Kilbourne's "Killing Us Softly" in which she explains media's participation in the sexualization of women.  


While on the subject of sexualization in the media, who ever decided pink was for girls and blue for boys?  A few months ago Honda released a new model named “She’s” made exclusively for women.  It is pink and apparently “adorable”, and comes equipped with a windshield that protects her delicate skin against the mean UV rays (pout, pout).  And oh, it has a lipstick holder.  Isn’t that absolutely peachy fun!! (Blink-blink with large Maybelline mascara-ed eyelashes).  As Alyssa Rosenberg quips, “To be fair, Honda is providing a UV-blocking windshield to stave off every girl's first face lift. But really, if you're not going to make the glove compartment heart-shaped and give me a makeup mirror in the driver's-side visor, how can you claim to be meeting my needs?” Women need to battle this ridiculous stereotyping.  In the same article Rosenberg writes, “..color coordination isn't the only thing I want out of a car. Where's the emergency kit in the trunk that comes fully equipped with an extra set of birth control pills, spare Spanx, and replacement heels in case I break one of mine running to whatever meeting I'm late to this time? What about an onboard GPS system that won't let me make hormonal navigation decisions? Or an OnStar system that summons only the cute AAA guy? And I'd really love a specialized Breathalyzer that can detect if I have too few Skinnygirl Margaritas in my system to go home with that guy.”
Remember women, that capitalism likes the fact that you are now independent and are able to spend money on products it can fool you into buying and still keep you degraded and dehumanized.  Women should concern themselves with developing a healthy self-image.

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