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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Victoria's Secret needs to mind their own business....


So there is a lot going on in the news these days, and though I want to continue the discussion about the children, I don’t want to neglect other opportunities either.  Thought I’d chime in on the whole Victoria’s Secret uproar.  (I always maintain that Victoria either doesn't HAVE any secrets, or that her secret is that if you make underwear fancy colored and charge a whole bunch for it, you can make a fortune!)  

Anyway, if you don’t know what the uproar is, apparently there are some ad campaigns that they have been doing for a line of underwear aimed at girls as young as 12 and 14.  Now granted, girls that young probably need underwear, but the problem is that Victoria makes all her underwear to be suggestive in terms of cut, push and verbiage on it.  So there is a pastor who has decided to call them on it, questioning the marketing of the “sexy” clothing for young girls, and that challenge is getting quite a bit of attention.  I even heard on the news that the company has backed off a bit on the age they claim they are aiming for….although I didn’t hear they were changing anything about the underwear, so has anything really changed? 
I believe this pastor has raised an important issue and there are lots of surrounding issues.  Frankly, with so many performers clothing choices and musical lyrics, and all the media hype in general, you would think that people in America do nothing but eat, drink and sleep sex.  More to the point, though, the message is also starting to come through loud and clear that the worth of a girl is whether or not she is sexy!  Which actually is pretty stupid:  the truth is guys are attracted to girls…it doesn't take much for them to be sexy from our perspective!  What is really difficult to believe in all of this discussion is that I grew up at a time when women the world over were demanding that they be recognized for more than their bodies and be treated as human beings with skills, abilities and opportunities.  Since then, women have moved into careers and leadership positions they had long been denied in the U.S.  But now, it is almost as if the girls are being taught that the notion of using their skills, abilities and brains to reach their goals is entirely wrong….it really is only about your body and being sexy.  How sad. 

You may think it is all the media’s fault.  But I have known mothers of young teens who took their girls to Victoria’s Secret to buy clothing on a regular basis, and taught them that if they can attract guys with suggestive clothing, that is a good thing.  No, I mean CHRISTIAN mothers, believe it or not.  Really!  But there are so many other mixed messages out there, aren't there?  We supposedly want to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy, and yet entice girls to wear clothes that encourage boys to pay attention to the girls’ behinds?  What message does the suggestive clothing really advertise?

I remember being pretty impressed in the last few years to learn that some modeling agencies are finally putting on the cover of magazines women who have actually eaten in the last decade!  The impact there could be you don’t have to be super skinny as a girl to be attractive.  (In fact, as near as I can tell, these stretchy blouses girls wear that accentuate their bellies sure don’t seem to worry about skinny as the goal!)  But even that misses the point, doesn't it?

Let me go to a different angle.  There are some television shows on these days that enter the supposedly (nationally) private world of various women.  Many of these women are very beautiful, physically fit and could be models.  If the volume was down on the television, you’d think they were really something.  But if you have the volume up, when they open their mouths you quickly discover they are anything but beautiful.  Every time I see some of them (always while passing through, I have NO desire to watch any of that junk) it always make me grateful for the woman who is married to me.  In her I find beauty beyond mere physical appearance (which is also fine with me, by the way).  I find a woman who is honest and trustworthy.  I find a woman who is caring and thoughtful.  I find a woman who loves God and seeks to help others.  (I could go on, but the internet can only hold a certain amount of information.)   How did they use to say it, “pretty is as pretty does?”
Isn't THAT what the Bible teaches is to be valued in a person, male or female?  Isn't it character and inner beauty that lasts?  Despite all the botox, liposuction, stretching, implanting, lifting and all the other things individuals have done to pretend like they are still 15, bodies will age, body parts still sag and hairlines recede.  The Bible called those kinds of things (like a grey head) honorable, not something to be avoided at all costs!  So coming back around to our 12-14 year old girls.  As I recall, most kids that age, and probably especially girls tend to already struggle with self acceptance and body image while they and their friends are all changing at rapidly different and uncertain rates.  Do we really want to urge them to focus on body image even more?  Is sexy really the goal?  Don’t get me wrong, I believe God ordained the sexual relationships between men and women and that taking care of one’s body while making oneself reasonably attractive to the opposite sex aren't bad things…to a point.  But honestly, is there anything more attractive than a woman (or man) of godly character?  A person who reflects the best of everything a human being can be, a person whose life mimics the life of Christ and the love of God?  Somebody else can have the implants and all the lies that go with them.  Our obsession with exterior beauty has been in existence for a long time, even beauty contests go back in American for nearly one hundred years.  When the day comes that people look back on United States history of this period, I suspect our culture will be known as the one that valued only appearances and possessions, the external fluff of clothes, makeup, hair, houses…you know the list.  But real values have been all too often forgotten and abandoned. 

Girls, you are worth more than you are being told by those who tell you that you have to be beautiful, but mean only your physical body.  People who sell that idea remind me of a movie title I once saw (though I never saw the movie).  The title?  “Clueless!”  Guys, don’t be suckered in…..you might end up with a real housewife that you wish you’d left in Atlanta!

TL:dr  True beauty isn't dependent on Victoria’s Secret!

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