Posted by: juliamillard114 | March 28, 2013

Confidence Killer?

I recently read an open letter to Victoria’s Secret written by the father of a little girl. Victoria’s Secret plans to create a middle school line of bras and underwear with phrases like “feeling lucky” or “call me” on them. When I first read this, I felt very sad about our future generation of women. I started thinking more about how this might affect the future generation of women leaders.

Recently in class we have been talking about how women should be confident and show their true personalities because those qualities create the most authentic leaders. I feel that allowing young girls to buy provocative undergarments undermines their self worth and their development into intelligent young women. The father in the letter makes a great point when he says “I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior?… not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a “call me” thong?” The development of girls into confident young ladies is being hindered by societies desire to turn 10-12 year old girls into sex objects. 

Imagine what kind of leaders these middle girls will turn into if they are taught that they are nothing but an object. They could lack confidence, morals and values and would be subject to men. Women need to take control of themselves, invest themselves in things that really make a difference: joining Habitat for Humanity, Where is the Line, etc. As an authentic leader, one must possess confidence to effectively lead others. Women who have no self worth will not succeed in recruiting followers. I do not see how this in any way accomplishes empowering our future women leaders. 

What can society do to empower young girls to develop confidence, self worth, morals and values? How can society prevent companies from putting profits above the future of our women leaders?


  1. I think this is so ingrained into our society that we don’t stop to consider the consequences of letting little girls wear these things. Mothers want to be friends and the “cool parent” not the harsh mom who won’t let there kid do what they want. But by doing so they are harming the child in the long run. If companies got the idea that the general public was no longer interested in sexy clothing or in being sex objects they would stop making these things, considering the only really they mass produce it now is due to high demand. Our culture is one revolved around sex, alcohol, and scandalous actions. Our news articles have turned from politics to who’s wearing what brand better. The only way to end this cycle is to start making comfortable clothing popular, make sporty clothes the new trend or something similar not lacy thongs or underwear that says “call me”.

  2. I completely agree. Although programs and campaigns and advertisements like this, support needs to be directed in other directions. For example, The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Taken from

    “The Dove® brand is rooted in listening to women. Based on the findings of a major global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Dove® launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004. The campaign started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. Among the study’s findings was the statistic that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful. Since 2004, Dove® has employed various communications vehicles to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women to join a discussion about beauty. In 2010, Dove® evolved the campaign and launched an unprecedented effort to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem.”

    Programs like this, Girls Inc., Campfire USA, and Girl Scouts help build up girls during there adolescent years and create strong independent women. We need to learn to invest our time, money and efforts into these programs rather than get sucked in by the glitter and glam of Victoria’s Secret.

  3. Another question to ask is how do we teach our young boys to not treat young girls as objects. While I agree that it is extremely important to teach young girls to be confident and independent, we often forget that we also need to teach young boys to accept and encourage women to be independent and confident.

    I personally don’t think that middle school girls need to wear undergarments like Victoria’s Secret is advertising. However, there is a line between wearing something that makes you feel good about yourself and something that makes you feel good about yourself once someone else likes it. I would encourage young girls to wear something if they feel more confident in it, but there is a line that has to be drawn. I don’t think that anyone needs to wear something with the phrase “call me” written on it. Thus, I would say that these items are inappropriate, but if they marketed undergarments with other phrases encouraging confidence and independence then I think that would be alright.

  4. While I do agree that this is completely inappropriate for young girls to even be faced with, I don’t know if they will understand how it might undermine their self-worth. As mentioned in the comments above, this is truly a part of the way people are socialized, men and women, as we’ve seen in Miss Representation. The letter is a welcome sign that men are also aware of these issues and that they will fight for their girls.

  5. Sorry I did not mean to click that!

    Women can be responsible for bolstering their own self worth but they need other people to serve as mentors, such as the father who wrote the letter. While Victoria’s Secret does knowingly use sex appeal to attract and therefore create hype over their items, they as a company should be more aware of how they are perceived by their consumers. Creating a female empowerment line would not only improve their current clientele’s view of their products but also increase their client base to others who may not have condoned their message.

  6. I agree with this post. Even in our beginning classes, we established that it was vital that for women to progress in society, society must change with it. For women to gain respect for themselves, men have to give the same level of respect. The view of women needs to change in order for society to accept them in higher up roles. If both men and women continue to treat women as “objects” then it will continue to be hard for society to see them in professional careers.
    There was a prank pulled on Victoria Secrets not too long ago and it said that it was going to produce a line of abstinence underwear such as “no,” “not till marriage,” and “let’s talk about it first.” Unfortunately, this line was just a joke, but raised the idea of giving girls the power to talk about sex or say no. Encouraging this behavior gives women the power back that is taken away by the other “call me” or “feeling lucky” line. Women are allowed to feel beautiful but should not have to subject themselves to a level of sexual objects for the purpose of pleasing a man.

  7. Wow, thats awful to think that a company would go so far to sell seductive “sexy” underwear to young girls. Middle school is a time when girls are developing their self esteem and it is crucial that their self worth is known to them. More and more middle school girls are adopting the “sexy” look and when they do it becomes harder for them to develop a positive image of themselves later in life. I think what we can do as a society it stand up against these retailers that are just trying to make more money. If no one buys the prduct and people speak out against it then the retailers will can the product. It’s a shame that these retailers are not actually looking out for their buyers best interest merely the profit they will make.

  8. This post hit the same spot with me as the post about women judging each other harshly. It is things like Victoria’s secret creating a line for young girls that is causing women to feel such societal pressure to berate one another. First of all the fact victorias secret is doing this is shocking, no wonder so many young girls face eating disorders or end up in “situations” they do not wish to find themselves in with young immature boys. But girls that buy into this mindset of being “sexy” and having boyfriends young are judging those that do not because they are not fitting the mold that society is creating, with the help of companies such as victorias secret. We have a chance as a generation to set a new path for our children to go down, however how do stop society from creating this impossible to achieve ideals? As a 22 year old I find victorias secret to be a confidence killer in that there is NO WAY that the average female in her early 20’s looks the way those models do. However at this age I understand this and am able to look past it. The question is though will middle school girls be able to look past this?

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