I am not much into fashion. I wouldn’t know a ______ from a ______. (That’s how much I don’t know about fashion – I couldn’t even think of something clever to fill in the blanks. Apparently I need to watch more Sex and the City). What I do know is that how we dress and present ourselves to the world is a way to create our identity, place, and status. Women and men both do this through their choice of fashion, although the emphasis on appearance is greater for women, from underwear to outerwear.
A recent spoof on Victoria’s Secret unveiled a desire that young women have for empowering sexual messages in fashion. For many years Victoria’s Secret has had a “PINK” line of underwear and clothes, with panties displaying slogans like “Sure Thing.” Last week, a women’s anti-rape group created a mock online store, called “Pink Loves Consent,” designed to encourage healthy body image and consent during sex. These panties, worn by models of all sizes, read, Respect, Consent is Sexy, and I Love My Body, among others. The spoof was so convincing, Victoria’s Secret and social media sites were flooded with messages of support and excitement.
Victoria’s Secret “PINK” line markets to younger women and college women. However, when we’re younger, our fashion choices can have an impact on our developing self-esteem and self-image. And narrow-minded messages for girls and young women aren’t just in the underwear realm, but in the outerwear realm with messages on shirts like:
Allergic to Algebra. Math is Hard. Porn Star in Training. I’m too Pretty to Do Homework so my Brother has to do it for Me. Who Needs Brains when you Have These?
Why aren’t we trying to build the confidence of our young women? Unfortunately the mock Victoria’s Secret line of empowering messages does not exist. But there is a new, family company out of Denver, CO, who is taking on this task as a result of a dad’s disgust with these degrading messages. Keira’s Kollection has created a line of tops with messages like:
Be confident. Be brainy. Intelligent. Athletic. Adventurous. Different. Strong is Beautiful.
Wouldn’t that be a nice message under the Christmas tree this year? If you’d like to break this cycle and purchase an article of clothing with an empowering message for a young girl in your life, check out Keira’s Kollection. On a side note, they haven’t tackled the underwear realm, and I don’t know if they will, but I’d be curious to see what kinds of messages would be appropriate yet encouraging to young women? “I Know How to Please Myself” perhaps?
Obviously I’m impressed with their line and support their cause, and when I told them I was going to mention them in a blog, they kindly offered a 10% discount to my readers and friends until Christmas (use the “DRJENN” promo code!). Research shows that girls’ self-esteem peaks at age 9. I say let’s be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sociologist, Sex Therapist, Sexuality Speaker, Sexologist