Dads and Victoria’s Secret

“Where did that come from???”

The answer was pretty obvious. In fact, it was printed on the bag. But it appeared that my dad, as he gaped at the pink stripped shopping bag with pink ribbon handles and matching tissue paper playfully poking out of the top, had entered some kind of state of denial in which he was suddenly rendered illiterate. At first, I was slightly taken aback, because similar bags had been in the house in plain view before. It took me a moment to realize that my dad was joking (he does that sometimes). However, as my mom and I were laughing along with him, I realized that this situation has probably occured in many other households without as much laughter. In fact, it is probably accompanied with lots of yelling and door slamming and “You don’t understand me”s and “All of my friends do it”s.

The origin of this little bag? Victoria’s Secret.

Dads, let me clarify something for you: Victoria’s Secret is not the red lamp and candlelit brothel it appears to be on television.

Do they sell underwear? Yes. However, Victoria’s Secret does not just sell lacy and racy underthings that look like they will fall apart in the wash and are only made of Chinese silk and Italian lace. You can actually find granny panties and long sleeve pajamas there too. They also sell a wide range of beauty products and makeup, and even laundry detergent. Their entire PINK line is fairly tame and made of cotton, the most innocent of all fabrics.

Is the advertising provocative? You bet. Every picture in that store features a thin yet miraculously busty 20 something with sexy bedhead and the stereotypical half closed eyes and slightly suggestive half open mouth. It’s not those girls’ fault though. They just can’t breathe through their noses.

And this is perhaps where the danger lies in allowing your daughter to shop there. Every girl needs underthings of good quality, and Victoria’s Secret offers that. Unfortunately, if a young woman (or any woman for that matter) suffers from the insecurities that women often do, shopping there can be toxic.

On the recent day that I visited Victoria’s Secret, the outside windows featured the phrase “I love (it was actually a heart) my body.” The model in the backdrop was posing sideways in her undies to feature her tiny waist and hips and full bust. I found myself slightly offended. Now I know that it was designed to advertise for the “Body by Victoria” line but picture clearly gave the impression that there was only one type of body to love. I was saddened as I thought of the young women who would walk by the store that day and think, “If only I was as thin and pretty as her” and the older women who might think, “Maybe if I looked like that he wouldn’t have left or I would find somebody.”

This is just one of the many negative messages women receive every day that they are not good enough. And I realize that this topic has been discussed countless times. Today, I only offer a warning for fathers.

Dads: If you discover that pink bag in your house, it might be a good time to let your daughter know that what she wears on her body will never be as important as what she wears in her heart. This is a lesson that can never be repeated enough.

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