This following article is written by a friend and trainer who shares her thoughts, honestly, and we love her for it. The original article can be found here on Full Potential Fitness and brings to the table a good discussion to be had. It was written a few years ago, but I think we can all agree it’s still very relevant.
Dear Victoria’s Secret,
I know you think that everything’s been great between us. I mean, you’ve been sending me “free underwear with the purchase of a bra” coupons on a regular basis, so I feel like everything has been status quo to date. But I have something important to tell you today, and that is that I’m ending our relationship. We’re done, over with, finite. I’ve already taken the liberty of removing myself from your mailing list, and I can’t imagine any reason I’d need to enter one of your stores unless I’m suddenly dying for uncomfortable lingerie or pungently scented lotion sets. I’m just…well…over you.
Why so sudden? Surely you can’t think that sending a swim wear catalogue to my home filled with teenagers in “itsy” bathing suit bottoms was okay? No, there’s certainly no sense in denying it. The models in your catalogue are BABIES, no matter how much makeup (or random smatterings of “sexy” sand) you put on them, or how often you pose them as if THEY JUST MIGHT pull their bottoms down and reveal all their goodies. They are high schoolers, spring breakers and new college students. They are unbelievably waify and hairless and spray tanned and look nothing like I do. Not a freckle, not a mole, not a MUSCLE in sight! I. CANNOT. RELATE. So ultimately all I want to do is wrap them up in your overpriced casual wear and deliver them back to the safety of their homes.
But that’s not even the full reason I’m deciding to end it so suddenly with you. Here, let me set the scene…
I was having a quiet moment the other day when the silence was quickly broken by my 6-year old. I seriously should have known better (Quiet moments? Hah!).
“Hey mommy! Hey mommy! Look what I got in the mail!” She came running up to me and plopped herself in my lap, and then brought before my eyes…The Victoria’s Secret Swim 2014 Catalogue.
“Ummm…I think this is for me honey,” I mumbled, as I bit the inside of my cheek and my fingers tried to gently pry the catalogue from her steely grip.
“No mommy! This is for ME! See – these are BIG girls, these AREN’T mommies!”
I’d like to immediately point out that I didn’t even acknowledge the innocent dig she made against what mommies supposedly look like (I’ll get back to that). Instead, I waited for her commentary and 6-year old analysis.
“See mommy, this is me, because she’s got blonde hair. And this one too – I like her ‘cause she likes the sand and I like the sand.” Her excitement was building – lot’s of pictures to pick from!
“But that one’s not me because she’s showing her bottom and you told me that’s inappropriate (a big new word in our house as of late). So that’s not okay right? Wait, when I’m bigger it’s okay to show my bottom? ”
Eeek! My daughter proceeded to climb off my lap, take off her pants, and pull her underwear up to look like the ridiculous model. “I wanna get a bathing suit like this mommy, so I can look like a bigger girl! That’s fancy!”
Fancy?! WTF? This was not a joke. My 6-year old baby girl was clearly emulating models with bathing suits up their cracks. She has inferred this as a sign of getting older – of friggin maturity! My mind quickly fast-forwarded to booty shorts and stripper poles and it was all WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
Long story short, emerging from this conversation unscathed took some precision and some patience. Instead of showing my panic, I let her go through the catalogue page by excruciating page. She asked A LOT of questions about tushies and boobies and body hair (even SHE noticed a lack of it!), and I answered them all as honestly (and as age-appropriately) as I could. NO, this was not some amazing mother-daughter bonding moment. NO, this was not particularly educational for her. It was just me trying to minimize the situation as much as possible and perform damage control. And frankly, she seemed a bit dazed and confused by all of it.
In the end, I decided to return back to her original comment because I just couldn’t help myself. “Sooooo…ummmm…honey why don’t you think any of these girls look like mommies?” I asked. “I love to wear cute bathing suits – should I not? Am I too old? Are my mommy friends too old?”
“Mommy!” she exclaimed. “You’re an exerciser (athlete?)! You teach the muscle stuff and the bike stuff! These girls aren’t healthy girls like us.”
“Oh really?” I asked (notice she said “like us”). I was beaming a little bit. We were headed back in an interesting direction.
“These are skinny girls. Skinny girls aren’t nice to hug and don’t eat treats. Mommies are nice to hug, and mommies go running, and mommies eat treats, and mommies are strong.” And at that moment, she squeezed my arm and told me to “show her my guns.” Oh sweetness. We traded the gun show back and forth, and the catalogue was quickly forgotten.
However VS…I’m still ending my relationship with you. I’m sorry, it just won’t work. I don’t want any more surprises from you in my mail box. My children (and I) are going to get older and those models in your catalogue clearly aren’t. Your use in my home for anything other than the bottom lining for our hamster cage has come to an end. And as my daughter has clearly proven to me, the only person she should be and will be emulating in a bathing suit is her very own huggable, run-loving, treat-eating, “gun” toting, strong, strong mommy.
P.S. Let me know if you want some ideas about selling cute bathing suits while still managing to EMPOWER and CELEBRATE beautiful women of all shapes and sizes!