Victoria’s Secret: Who’re They Kidding?

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That’s  a rhetorical question. I know they’re not kidding anyone.

I remember the first time I realized Victoria’s Secret, purveyor of products for women, was actually more interested in advertising toward men. It was when I was in college and a group of guys in my Rocks For Jocks (appropriate, no?) class were using a VS catalogue as ogling material. Had they each been in their dorm rooms, I would have classified it as them enjoying some soft porn.

The catalogues were one thing. They might still be soft porn (seriously, how many women do you know pose around like that in their bra and panties?), but at least they do offer a few specs on the products.

The TV ads, however, are NOT catered to me in the least. They tell me next to nothing about the supposedly  fantastic bras the tall, lithe (and yet voluptuous) models display in various erotic poses. I suspect VS would disagree, as often the ads include the word “ladies” in salutation. How, then, could it not be geared toward me? Easy. I don’t buy bras based on how they look on a rail-thin model as she poses in positions that look, well, painful to me (back arched, what little tummy she has sucked in, butt and breasts out).

I like pretty bras and panties, I really do. But I buy bras based on functionality first, and if they’re pretty that’s just a bonus. I buy Warner’s. I buy Maidenform. I buy Barely There. None of those really advertise much, but then they don’t have to.

I don’t buy Victoria’s Secret.

Comments

  1. says

    I like pretty bras and panties, I really do. But I buy bras based on functionality first, and if they’re pretty that’s just a bonus.

    I think that the people who design most VS lines and the advertising for them think that sexiness is the functional aspect of undergarments.

    Which would explain why I, too, wear a lot of Barely There. I can manage to bring the sexy all on my own, kthx, and my version doesn’t chafe.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    I do wear one line of bras from VS. I find them very comfortable, they provide exceptional coverage, they’re perfectly invisible under almost anything, and twice a year I can get them half-price.

    Unfortunately, none of this is what the commercials tell you. I learned all this from an employee at the store, who was right on top of the specs. She knew I was looking for something that would make me look nice in clothes, not something that looked nice without clothes over it, and she catered.

    That said, the last time I bought these bras was a couple of years ago. Next time I buy, it won’t be from VS – not just because of the ads, but because their stuff is made in sweatshops.

    Also, speaking of those crazy underwear poses in the catalog, have you checked out the clothing section? 15 years ago, they had some very good clothes I used to buy from the store. Now that I would have to rely on the catalog to tell me what they look like, I can’t be bothered. They have models doing the female comic book superhero pose, with chest and hips thrust out at crazy angles, with totally modest henley type shirts unbuttoned to the abdomen, so I have no idea what that shirt would look like even on a tall thin model if she was standing like a human being and wearing the shirt as it was meant to be worn.

    Clearly, it’s not about showing us clothes we might want to buy. It’s about showing an image porn lovers would find sexy.

  3. sbg says

    Which would explain why I, too, wear a lot of Barely There. I can manage to bring the sexy all on my own, kthx, and my version doesn’t chafe.

    Actually, back in college I had a friend who convinced me to try VS. I did…and not only were the items horrendously overpriced, they also fell apart much more quickly than other brands. I don’t expect bras to last forever, but they should last longer than 2 months, you know? Especially at that price.

  4. says

    i love pretty panties and bras as well, and i love the v.s. fashion show. i think they’re creative and the wings are awesome.
    true men are the main target, men think about how arroused they will be watching their wifey or girlfriend romp around the house in a pink lacey thingy. women can be way too self concious about their own bodies and feel we will be judged if we go into a VS store and buy something for ourselves. especially if we are a little overweight.
    in my opinion, the only women who are brave enough to go into those stores and buy for themselves are hard bodied little vixens searching for the right man with lots of money…why money? because VS costs a fortune and they would have to have a man with money just to keep buying the niceies.

  5. says

    I used to wear VS bras exclusively, because they were the only place I could go at the mall that reliably had unpadded A-cup bras with a 36″ band in stock (yep, I am broadcasting my strange bra size all over the internets! Wheeee!).

    But then I discovered the joys of ordering clothing online. Bliss!

    As BetaCandy notes, there are sweatshop concerns, too, so I’m generally quite glad that I don’t buy from VS anymore.

  6. sbg says

    They have models doing the female comic book superhero pose, with chest and hips thrust out at crazy angles, with totally modest henley type shirts unbuttoned to the abdomen, so I have no idea what that shirt would look like even on a tall thin model if she was standing like a human being and wearing the shirt as it was meant to be worn.

    Word. And it always disturbs me to think how YOUNG some of those models are, too.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    SBG, yes, I too had bras from them ages ago that fell apart. They were really crap. For all I know, some of the current lines may do the same. I didn’t even go in a VS store for years, but I was getting really desperate to find something that worked for me, and they had one line which is very well made. It’s also over $50 per bra at normal retail prices.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if once a line has caught on, they start making it more cheaply so people will replace them more often.

    Overall, I think the store is trash even if I have found some good bras there. I just wanted to illustrate that even when they DO make something functional, they still advertise it with some lite porn carnival.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    PoconoMom, sadly, I have heard tales from overweight women of VS employees turning up their noses and saying, “We don’t have anything in your size” when they come in the store.

    I think VS is catering to both men and women who buy into the idea that *the woman’s job is to look sexy and the man’s job is to buy her pretty things*. It’s like “Victoria” is this nice, polite 1950’s wife, and her “secret” is that she turns into a wild woman behind closed doors with the hubby.

    In that way, strange as it sounds given their tendencies toward soft porn, they’ve always struck me as retro or behind the times.

  9. sbg says

    Overall, I think the store is trash even if I have found some good bras there. I just wanted to illustrate that even when they DO make something functional, they still advertise it with some lite porn carnival.

    It is ridiculous to me. I have no qualms with someone wanting sexy underwear (Though even that seems ridiculous to me – all that “seduction” stuff just gets ripped off in a matter of seconds, ideally, and ends up in a crumpled heap on the floor. Looks real pretty there.), but there’s sexy and then there’s porn.

    There’s no way they’ll ever convince me that they’re trying to sell me on the idea I could look sexy and hot like that in their underwear. I know what I look like, and this 5’3″ girl with hourglass curves isn’t ever gonna strut around with her chest and butt out wearing only her undies.

  10. Maartje says

    Pocono~mom, to call all ‘hardbodied’women moneygrubbing vixens seems a little excessive. You’re making a judgement purely based on looks.

    About VS, we don’t have that chain here (as far as I know) but as everyone else I have seen pictures. The thing about them that gets me is the impossibility of it all. Not just the freaskish sizes of the models but the way the knickers never make a dent on the hip, not even a tiny little one. And when they pull their shoulders back with certain types of bras on and there should be a gross case of bifocal boob going on but no, their magic model boobs stay perfect and the only effect that’s left is the lifting effect. They’re just liars! It’s one big airbrush that no one can ever hope to live up to.

  11. says

    Maartje, I don’t think she was stereotyping all “hard-bodied” women as “vixens” – she was stereotyping all VS customers as “hard-bodied vixens”. Which is ludicrous, since a couple of us acknowledged shopping there before.

    So I took her comment as over-the-top facetiousness rather than a literal belief. I hope I was correct in doing so.

  12. scarlett says

    I can’t remember the last time I bought bras from anywhere but Target. (In all fairness, I’m a 12A. Nipple impression is a bigger concern for me that support.)Something I wrote about ages ago on this site was Target’s ongoing campaigns, which evolve around smiling, nicely dressed people and a ‘just be happy’ slogan. They also have the highest QC I’ve seen for my budget.
    I think if you give people a decent product for a decent price, they will buy, without the need for gimmicks. But the shoddier product you have – especially when it’s ridiculously overpriced – the dodgier advertising you have to resort to.

  13. says

    i don’t remember calling anyone moneygrubbing. it was more like saying something without saying it. i was meaning that the VS items are so expensive one would have to make good money (or be married to someone who did) in order to be able to buy numerous items. a normal, hard working single mom would rarely be able to afford something from VS becasue as much as she would like to splurge, i’m sure her sense of obligation towards paying the bills and feeding her family would come first.
    look at baby phat for instance. i advertise them on my site. for christmas they advertised a gift set of perfume and a cell phone with a case for $395! that’s crazy! would any one of you buy a cell phone and a case for that kind of money, oh wait…and it came iwth an 8 oz. bottle of perfume. i doubt that any of you would buy that for yourselves…now, i’m not syaing that women don’t like to be lavished with expensive items, but it’s all the more easier if you have a hubby or boyfriend, heck! even a suger daddy to get them for you.
    hopefully now my point has been expressed better. and as far as stereotyping “hardbodied vixens” i was doing no such thing…we are all vixens in one way or another…i am 20% vixen/80% angel. but behind closed doors it could be the other way around. don’t analyze so much, i’ll get a headache.

  14. Ide Cyan says

    I find it interesting that advertising clothing lines for women that are aimed at arousing men combines two very perverse strategies depriving women of economic power: 1) selling the idea that women must appeal to men, and 2) by making women spend money on items that will make them appeal to men. It seems like the more money you spend on appealing to men, the more you need to rely on men economically because you have less money for yourself.

  15. MaggieCat says

    Ooo, I could spend a month complaining about all of the things I hate about VS, but I’ll restrain myself to the one I find the most hypocritical: They never have anything in my size. This tends to irritate me since it seems like ever since the Wonderbra became a phenomenon every piece they aggressively market is designed to make you look fuller chested, but if you actually have a large bust line you’re apparently a freak. The last time I was in one of their stores (I was desperate to find a bra that would work under a specific dress) and asked if anything was available in my size, you would have thought I was running around the store with underwear on my head from the reaction I got.

    I’m self-conscious enough about my chest already, I sure as hell don’t need any help from them. It pisses me off as both a customer and someone who used to work retail because that sort of unhelpful attitude is why people have gone running to online stores. (Including me, I hate to shop.) The store I worked in sold both misses and plus sizes, and making anyone feel self-conscious about what is only a number would have been the quickest way to get fired.

    Me, bitter? Don’t be silly. ;-)

  16. says

    well said IDE! i wonder what the ratio of VS designers are, more male than female?
    still, VS is one of the few stores who do advertise and imply that these types of undergarments are made to make a woman feel good, feel sexy. who do women want to feel sexy for? their counterparts. it’s a vicious cycle, but it happens more than we care to realize, analyze and publicize.

  17. MaggieCat says

    now, i’m not syaing that women don’t like to be lavished with expensive items, but it’s all the more easier if you have a hubby or boyfriend, heck! even a suger daddy to get them for you.

    I sort of resent the implication that women should have a man buy them expensive things. People almost never congratulate men for having a girlfriend/wife who makes a lot of money- in fact it’s frequently used as an insult if the wife is the one supporting the household. If men are expected to save up for expensive items they personally want, women should have the same expectation. It becomes even more ridiculous when the expensive things in question are supposed to attract a man. And with an item like this is seems much more like the man in question is buying it for his own benefit and she’s just the one who has to wear it.

    I’ll fully admit that expensive gifts make me uncomfortable unless I’m in a position to reciprocate. To use your perfume example, the only perfume I wear is fairly expensive ($75/1.5 oz) and I saved that money myself because it was something I wanted. I don’t wear it very often and I’ve had the same bottle for 3 years. Considering my financial situation I wouldn’t buy it now, and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to buy it for me- it’s a waste of money even when you do have the disposable income available.

  18. Jennifer Kesler says

    PoconoMom, No man has ever bought me an expensive gift, and that’s just fine with me. I can buy what I want. A man needs to bring to the table something I can’t give myself for me to be interested (which is why a patriarchy that sought to put men between women and resources with sex as the only female bartering tool exists in the first place).

    I’m not sure what you mean by vixen, because the term is widely misused to describe a sex kitten. It can mean “shrew” or merely “attractive woman”. In any case, if you mean sex kitten, I’d say I’m 0% that and I suspect 3 billion men would confirm it if you could manage to introduce them all to me. If you mean shrew, a handful over the years might agree to that. If you mean attractive woman, then yes, I’m all over that. But I’m the living antithesis of sex kitten tricks and gestures.

  19. says

    Most of my blog circle is ex-Mormons, and — given their requirement of wearing sacred, unflattering, uncomfortable underwear — a trip to get nice panties is often a part of the “recovery” process. Victoria’s Secret often figures prominently in these stories.

    Unfortunately I can’t really join in on their experiences since I never made it to a high enough level to earn the privelege of wearing the magic undies. So, even though I’ve moved to the land of lingerie, I’m still wearing comfy cotton panties I buy from Target whenever I get back to the U.S…. (I assume Target is not using sweatshop labor, but I’ll admit I haven’t researched the issue.)

    On the other hand, I was under the impression that marketers of male underwear have been doing the same thing, particularly Calvin Klein, if I understand correctly. Their market researchers discovered that women were buying men’s underwear for men, so they started using images inspired by gay porn to market men’s underwear to women. I’m not as current on pop culture as I should be, but isn’t that the case?

    I think it’s a little different since I imagine women are typically purchasing functional underwear for men, and the marketers were trying to persuade them that while they’re at it they should be getting their men something sexy, whereas VS is hardly aimed at men who would normally be buying functional undies for their SO’s just because the shopping is their responsibility. Still, there seems to be a little bit of “sauce for the goose” going on here…

  20. Jennifer Kesler says

    C.L., that’s a good point. Calvin Klein used underaged male models briefly back in the 90’s, I think, and caused quite a stir. The ads definitely struck me as appealing to pedophiles, not women. But since then, we have a lot of gym-sculpted grown men with lots of stocks stuffed down their undie fronts coming from Klein and others like them. That could be targeted to women.

    But these men are not dangerously underweight. They don’t stand funny, pushing out their little packages while trying to emphasize their pecs at the same time, or something. Their hair isn’t blowing in the wind. And perhaps most importantly, they don’t make Aroused Porn Face Expressions that hint, “I’m here to service you, Big Girl.”

    The VS ads do all that.

    I don’t know for sure about Target using sweatshop labor, but I do know that ironically, stores like that and Wal-Mart are under more pressure than the big boutique chains not to do so. Wal-Mart’s been caught using sweatshops AND cheating their employees more than a few times; I’ve never heard similar allegations against Target, so overall I think they’re about as ethical a company as you can expect from a success in the US.

  21. says

    C.L. Hanson, I was thinking of that, too. Another thing that comes to my mind as a difference between the VS and CK marketing strategies, beyond the type of shopper they’re trying to attract (habitual shopper for the household vs. occasional shopper specifically for racy occasional items) is the ubiquity. Maybe it’s because I don’t live in a big city, but I very rarely see Calvin Klein advertisements – I’ve never seen underwear of any kind advertised on a billboard, here. I’ve seen VS television commercials, but not CK (for underwear – I remember seeing some for perfume, some years ago). I’ve seen both products advertised in magazines, and through glossy posters and displays at the actual stores where they can be purchased. But I see VS advertised in banner ads in my browser as I read the internets almost every day. I’ve never seen the CK ads online.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that CK is a better company because they have a different ad strategy, or anything like that – I strongly suspect that if their marketing department believed that constant advertising on Yahoo! or something would net them some profits, they’d go for it.

    I’m really just musing about it, and thinking about cultural reasons why it might be more common to see near-nekkid ladies in ads than near-nekkid men, and what effect that style of advertising, when gendered, has in its turn on the culture.

  22. says

    From what I’ve heard, Target’s labor policies are better than average. Wallmart has apparently gotten some flack for not providing health insurance, and I don’t know if that has improved.

    The Calvin Klein underwear ads didn’t really do anything for me, but I had one female friend who was posting some of them on the wall in her apartment because she found them sexy, so they may have had some appeal to women.

    As far as ubiquity of sexualized female images is concerned, I don’t know what the situation is like in the US, but here in France… well, I can’t even begin to describe it…

    Interestingly, you see quite a lot of sexualized, semi-nude pictures of men here as well, and they are almost always associated with magazines and products marketed to gay men.

  23. says

    Interestingly, you see quite a lot of sexualized, semi-nude pictures of men here as well, and they are almost always associated with magazines and products marketed to gay men.

    Sounds like the appeal is implicitly targeted to a male gaze, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

  24. Jennifer Kesler says

    Which is the case here, too. I have a friend who once worked for the publisher of one of those teenybop magazines featuring boy rock stars that teen and pre-teen girls liked back in the 80’s. Their biggest distribution majority was middle-aged men. She tried to convince herself these were fathers buying them for daughters, but that just can’t happen enough to account for them being the biggest demographic.

    It suggests men were buying them for their own “gaze”.

    C.L., Wal-Mart has lost lawsuits twice that I know of for not paying earned overtime to employees. We haven’t allowed Wal-Mart in Los Angeles so far, because our labor standards are stricter than the national average, and we know there’s no way they’ll comply. They think they’ve above the law. The very fact that I’ve heard nothing bad about Target – and a few things good – is what makes me suspect they’re a pretty decent company all around.

  25. sbg says

    The very fact that I’ve heard nothing bad about Target – and a few things good – is what makes me suspect they’re a pretty decent company all around

    Totally off topic, but I had heard somewhere that Target allows its pharmacists to refuse to dispense things based on their religious/moral beliefs, which I find very not cool. I’ve poked around and found things to back that up, but all are dated late 2005. I’ve found nothing to say they’ve changed that policy since then.

  26. Jennifer Kesler says

    That does blow. My response to these situations is to urge pharmacists to refuse to dispense Viagra, based on moral beliefs.

  27. Julia says

    How about the “pink” line geared toward pre-teens? I’m telling you the young girls in the center spread of the most recent mag to show up at my house (i have had to call to get my name off their mailing list several times) could not have been more than 11 or 12, wearing knotted tanks and ‘cheeky’ underwear. complete with coy provocation and backwards glances. only i think they’re supposed to be at a slumber party. sick.

    so neither do it. and it isn’t so much about comfort levels as it is about the principle.

  28. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ugh, Julia, I haven’t seen that but I’m on their mailing list, so it may show up yet.

    I heard somewhere that a lot of the incidental models you see in ads appearing as grown women are actually quite young girls – 13 to 15. Ever since then, I’ve looked closer at models, and very often you see certain tell-tale signs of serious youth – cheeks that are fleshy but not chubby, in that way only a child’s can be, with blush that’s meant to make cheekbones appear where none are.

    There’s nothing quite like the chill of looking at a sexualized image of a woman… and realizing those eyes gazing back at you belong to a barely pubescent girl. It makes me feel like I’m molesting her somehow. That’s not hyperbole – I feel like I’m eating a hamburger, and someone’s showing me footage of the cow it came from, before she was slaughtered.

  29. sbg says

    There’s nothing quite like the chill of looking at a sexualized image of a woman… and realizing those eyes gazing back at you belong to a barely pubescent girl. It makes me feel like I’m molesting her somehow. That’s not hyperbole – I feel like I’m eating a hamburger, and someone’s showing me footage of the cow it came from, before she was slaughtered.

    We as a society frown upon child molesters and yet don’t blink at this stuff. Hell, in a way it seems sanctioned. Even some of the VS models are quite, quite young.

  30. Jennifer Kesler says

    As awful as the House ep “Skin Deep” was, there’s a great line in it about a 15 year old supermodel:

    “She’s a fashion model, on the cover of magazines. They hold her up as a sexual ideal; the law says we can’t touch her for three more years. How hypocritical is that?”

  31. sbg says

    “She’s a fashion model, on the cover of magazines. They hold her up as a sexual ideal; the law says we can’t touch her for three more years. How hypocritical is that?”

    Exactly. It’s bad enough grown women are considered meat (though unlike the true meat market, they’re more valuable the LESS they weigh), but when adolescents get sucked into that world… *shudder*

    VH-1 apparently has a show called The Agency. I’d never heard of it, but happened to flip around and landed on that channel to see a “previously on” or “coming up on” segment, in which an agent openly said she was in the business of peddling flesh. Another snippet showed two agents talking about a model (who was standing there) and her hip size. Apparently 37″ hips made her huge. She needed to get down to 34″. I can’t imagine what the poor woman would have to do to accomplish that.

    I guess that all wasn’t really related to your comment. Just ranting. Heh.

  32. says

    I’m glad the Target pharmcists thing was brought up; I stopped shopping there after finding out. (Which sucks because the store is so convenient, but, well, that’s how voting with dollars works.)

    Wearing VS doesn’t make me feel sexy. It makes me feel silly. Actually, almost any time I attempt to look sexy I end up feeling silly…on the other hand, when feel comfortable I also tend to feel more attractive; as close as I’ve been able to figure, feeling like I’m attractive has led to other people finding me attractive. Which is a nice positive spiral, for a change.

  33. Jennifer Kesler says

    I stopped shopping at Target a while back because they simply aren’t convenient for me, and their prices don’t beat local shops around here.

    I was saying in the Pussycats thread a while ago: I can’t carry off the VS Vixen type of sexy. It’s just not me, and I don’t even wish it was. I find it hilarious. Apparently, somehow I’m sexy to some people anyway, or so I’ve been told. There are so many ways for anyone to be sexy. Why do we inundate girls and women with the idea that lingerie is sexy? A lot of men really don’t even care for it. Some do. I’m just saying there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

  34. sbg says

    I’m glad the Target pharmcists thing was brought up; I stopped shopping there after finding out. (Which sucks because the store is so convenient, but, well, that’s how voting with dollars works.)

    I was severely disappointed when that information came out. I’m a Minnesota gal – I love Target. Well, I used to love Target. In Mpls./St. Paul, Target stores are all over the place. Choosing to not shop there anymore was much easier now that I’m in an area that has maybe six stores, all inconveniently located to me.

    I think everyone has the right to believe what they believe…I just don’t think they have the right to enforce what they believe upon me.

  35. Jennifer Kesler says

    I think it’s awesome. I’m going to get a job as a pharmacist, then declare my religion forbids medication. I’ll show up to work every day at Target as a pharmacist, but not fill any prescriptions. In fact, I think this is a job I could do from home! Not filling prescriptions! Yes!

    That was sarcasm. It’s ludicrous, pompous bullshit. I suggest all pharmacists at Target and others like it develop random moral issues with all sorts of medications popular with men. We’ll see how long that policy lasts then.

  36. sbg says

    That was sarcasm. It’s ludicrous, pompous bullshit. I suggest all pharmacists at Target and others like it develop random moral issues with all sorts of medications popular with men. We’ll see how long that policy lasts then.

    But there’s nothing WRONG with a man wanting to get it on with his woman. It’s not his FAULT he’s aging and his equipment doesn’t run as efficiently as it used to.

    You silly.

  37. Jennifer Kesler says

    But if God wanted his equipment to run right, it would run right. Man’s not to interfere in such thangs. Case closed. ;)

  38. sbg says

    Honestly, my biggest issues with ED drugs are that the companies primarily use women in their advertising (ladies, don’t you want your man to keep feeling like a man?) and that they’re merely a patch for what could actually be a serious problem. Rather than trying to find the source of the problem, men can just take a pill and it’ll be all better.

    Now I have White Rabbit in my head for some reason.

  39. MaggieCat says

    Hmm, I didn’t know that about Target and now I’m disappointed. I don’t shop there particularly often since I hate to shop and there’s a grocery store right down the street from me, so it won’t be a huge loss to stop. Meijer’s is closer anyway, and the only thing I’ve heard about them is that they decline to stock the morning after pill to avoid the problem of some pharmacists possibly refusing to distribute it, which isn’t ideal either but…

  40. sbg says

    Hmmm, and I’ve also got to say I’m less than impressed with Target’s latest ads, too.

    But that’s got nothing to do with Victoria’s Secret, so I’ll shut up. ;)

  41. Jennifer Kesler says

    Eh, it’s okay for the discussion to wander. I haven’t seen the new ads, and now I’m curious. What are they like?

  42. sbg says

    Hard to describe accurately and justify my dislike. ;)

    They’re for make up, and they DO use models doing traditional modely posing and mugging for the camera. They take words like “flaw” and then add “less” to them with a close up of a heavily made up woman’s face, etc., etc.

    It’s still basically about the product…little tubes of lipstick twirl around in spots, pots of eye shadow, etc. But I dunno. They’re just different.

  43. sbg says

    Incidentally, every single blasted time I check my yahoo email lately there’s a Victoria’s Secret ad there.

  44. Jennifer Kesler says

    I recommend Gmail. I think it has text ads scattered around, but I never even see them anymore.

  45. MaggieCat says

    Sometimes the text ads can be funny though, since they’re supposed to be relevant to what’s in the email- my personal favorite was the day I was having a conversation about what was the saddest song of all time, and Gmail felt the need to suggest Johnny Cash.

  46. Jennifer Kesler says

    Yeah, sometimes the “relevancy” of the links is based on one random word that has two meanings, and that can be pretty funny, too.

  47. says

    maggiecat – hell yes about VS not having anything for women that actually have large breasts. I couldn’t ever find anything in my size at VS even back when I was a skinny size 8.

    re: Target – I thought they’d changed their nationwide policy, but I could be wrong. I was boycotting them for a while – and yes, I slipped a few times – I remember thinking “yeah! I can shop at Target again!” at one point.

    re: depicting minors in sexual images for ads –

    The internets have warped my brain. Whenever a complicated discussion comes up irl – such as my branch manager bringing up the topic of the shameful Lohan, Hilton, etc. and my god will somebody please think of the children – I have this strange urge to reply with a bunch of links to all the fantastic blog posts on that subject (such as this discussion). Which makes stringing together a coherent argument really difficult.

    I may be better informed myself, but I seem to be running into all kinds of system errors when it comes to sharing that information.

  48. Jennifer Kesler says

    Okay, I’m trying to research this, and I’m confused. I’ve got links from 2005 where they say pharmacists don’t have to fill prescriptions they object to morally:

    http://pregnancy.bloggingbaby.com/2005/10/20/target-pharmacists-allowed-to-deny-contraceptives-to-women/

    and

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2005/11/11/target-says-its-pharmacis_n_10503.html

    But Pandagon in 2006 says they fired a woman for that reason:

    http://pandagon.net/2006/01/28/target-pharmacist-fired-for-refusing-to-dispense-morning-after-pill/

    And this site is as confused as I am:

    http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/1/27/11633/5960

    BTW, all this research has put that horrific “There’s Got To Be a Morning After” song in my head. Gotta go vomit now.

    Kroger’s – a major grocery chain in the eastern half of the US – is not letting their pharmacists refuse:

    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/03/11/ap3505203.html

    And I didn’t realize the morning after pill had been approved for use over the counter. I guess you just have to go to a pharmacist to get it… otherwise, like Sudafed, it might be shoplifted by 14 year olds to cook meth. Just kidding – I’m still bitter about living in a country that takes sinus drugs with 20+ years of safe records off the shelf just because it’s become an ingredient in a drug. So is water.

    *goes off ranting about the government and them damn kids and the taxes and stuff*

  49. Patrick says

    I realzied that I had become old at age 27 a few months ago when I had a “back in my day” response to a situation. It was pretty sad.

  50. Jennifer Kesler says

    I think it may be because there’s an artificial divide between those of us who remember Life Before The Internets and those who don’t. ‘Least that’s what I keep telling myself.

    Or else we’re just sad. Whine and cheese will be served in the lobby; please enjoy your stay. ;)

  51. Ifritah says

    Wow, I’m late to the commenting party here!

    I had actually not heard about the VS sweatshops. That doesn’t particularly please me.

    However, I will say that I am a shopper of VS bras and underwear. And no, I’m not a tiny woman. But here’s why. It’s not because of the commercials or the magazines. Which, yes, are very much directed toward the male audience. I ignore those. But a few years back, I had a friend who worked in the VS in the Boise, ID mall. Which meant that I came in to see her, despite making funny faces the first several times.

    (I am a huge tom-boy, I might add.)

    Thing is, going in got me looking at the merchandise. They have awesome comfy, cotton underwear! And like I said, I’m not tiny. I’m the US female average, and my size was right in the middle. They also had bras that fit the perfect tom-boy feel for me.

    In fact, I plan on going on an underwear VS spree here soon. And even though I have a fiance, I’ll tell you, those panties are chosen all for me.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t concerns for the VS franchise. The commercials and sweatshops are definitely topics that shouldn’t be dropped. But I just wanted to point out that not all of their products are the devil.

  52. sbg says

    I’m not saying that there aren’t concerns for the VS franchise. The commercials and sweatshops are definitely topics that shouldn’t be dropped. But I just wanted to point out that not all of their products are the devil.

    I don’t recall anyone suggesting that they were.

    I don’t shop there, but honestly it’s more to do with my experience with their product than boycotting them for their really atrocious ads and use of sweatshops.

  53. sbg says

    No, no, I was just saying that I didn’t see anyone running at VS with flaming torches and pitchforks. No one even said “Don’t shop there, they’re teh ebil!!1!”

    That’s all. :)

  54. Ifritah says

    SBG:

    Ha, yes, that’s fair. To be honest, I just have a fondness for saying, “of the devil” to pretty much anything that’s in a negative light.

    Mushrooms, for example, are of the devil.

  55. Jennifer Kesler says

    I love mushrooms! NOW you should stop typing.

    J/K, I also commented that I like a few of their products and it’s too bad the ads are so… as they are. But then the sweatshop thing I learned about more recently is enough to make me look into other brands. That’s just a personal choice. I’m not sure boycotting helps; and honestly, I’m not sure you can ever be sure someone’s NOT using sweatshops.

  56. Jennifer Kesler says

    I don’t mind raspberry sauce, but otherwise I agree there.

    And soy. Soy is of the devil. :D

    Off-topic? What topic? :D

  57. Ifritah says

    You BOTH like mushrooms? But… but… but they’re fungus! Bleh.

    Of course, I eat soy granola cereal and bananas on a regular basis, so…

  58. sbg says

    I think it’s more that weird fuzzy-feeling bananas leave on your teeth that gets me. Of course, spinach tends to do that, too and I adore spinach.

    But…uhm…er…topic. I think VS models eat only bananas and spinach, which is why they’re so thin.

  59. Ifritah says

    Unless it’s dip, I can’t stand spinach. (And, uh, I’ve never had that issue with bananas…)

    But hey, you may be on to something! We should have a model poll to find out what they eat!

  60. Jennifer Kesler says

    *waits for models to show up and offer diet details*

    *tumbleweed blows past*

    Ah, well, it was a good idea. Yes, bananas do make one’s mouth feel weird, and so does spinach, but it’s a different weird. A yummier weird.

  61. ann says

    I’ve read with interest most of the comments posted here. I agree with many but didn’t see any address the problem I have with VS. I have a 10 year old daughter. She’s a little tomboy and that’s great with me. She sees the VS commercials along with a multitude of others portraying women as nothing more than sexual objects (for whatever reason) and it’s very confusing to her. I block a lot of TV but you can’t protect kids from everything. My daughter sees this type of advertising and no longer feels comfortable in her own “skin”. She says “I don’t want to be a girl if it means growing up to be like that”. I expose her to wonderful female role models and explain to her that she doesn’t have to be that “type” of female…that in fact those kind of women are in the minority. I only hope that I can help her feel good and happy about her being a girl. But with what the media is throwing at our kids now a days it feels like a uphill battle. I grew up in a time when you didn’t have to worry about what was going to pop up on your television screen…I wish I had that for my daughter.

  62. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ann, I can only imagine what you’re going through – and your daughter. Commercials in the 80’s may have featured less nudity, but it was clear to me when women were being treated as less than human.

    Looking back, I think it was the real women I knew who most defined in my mind what my options were. In the end, the media objectification of women made me think worse of the men who watch that stuff than the women who model it.

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