Meg Meeker, M.D.
Victoria’s Secret’s latest ad campaign, “Bright, Young Things,” features lacy, colorful thongs with words like “Wild,” “Feeling Lucky?’ and “Call me” written on them. Despite the company’s insistence that this campaign is not aimed at young girls, parents of pre-teens are outraged, believing these sexual messages are indeed targeting their daughters.
I hope that you find this as offensive as I do. If you don’t, read on.
Marketing cigarettes, alcohol, and sex to our kids has been a source of concern for the American Academy of Pediatrics for years because numerous studies show that advertising changes a teen’s behavior. If you make cigarettes look sexy, kids buy them and smoke them. That’s why we killed Joe Camel, remember? If you market seductive underwear to little girls, they are at higher risk for starting sexual activity. Period.
Research shows that if a girl begins having sex before she is 16 years old, the number of sexual partners she has over her lifetime increases dramatically. And when a girl has more partners, she is at risk for contracting one or two of more than 30 sexually transmitted infections, like HPV, which causes cervical cancer.