Companies in the Spotlight: Victoria’s Secret

When is advertising inappropriate?

The use of young girls in advertisements geared toward an adult audience is startling and deeply wrong.  It should be obvious that sexually suggestive and adult-themed products should never be associated with images of young girls.  It should be a no-brainer that marketing activities along those lines would result in public outcry and irreparable damage to a brand. However, more and more marketing campaigns are shamelessly crossing this line.  It is as though some companies will abandon any socially acceptable concept of moral decency in order to more successfully peddle their products.  It also appears that Americans simply aren’t paying attention, or just don’t care.

Recently, I observed the perfume ad below in the walkway linking the Prudential Center Mall to the Mall at Copley Place. This ad uses a model who appears to me to be about eleven years old — to sell women’s perfume.

What is wrong with this picture?

How old is this model?

How old is this model?


What kind of messages is the ad sending to both women and men?  Does it suggest to adult women that they need to appear pre-adolsecent in order to be more desirable? Does it tell men that young girls are to be looked at as women?  This ad bothers me, and it should bother you too. Perfume is a product linked with sexual attractiveness and adulthood. Why is a such young-looking model being used to market it?

Victoria’s Secret

Are Victoria Secret‘s marketing campaigns offensively close to: a) marketing to children; or b) using children to market to adults? The ad below seems to promote products for girls on spring break:

Victoria's Secret:

Victoria’s Secret: “Bright Young Things”

Inside the store, hyper-sexual undergarments seem to be catering to a youthful audience, especially with the “mini-cheekster” display. What is wrong with this picture?

Victoria's Secret:

Victoria’s Secret: “Mini-Cheekster”Related articles



(Source:, a website made possible due to the generous support of the William E. Simon Foundation, the Stuart Family Foundation and the Dodge Jones Foundation.


Give us media images that respect, empower and promote the true value of Every Girl

The 4 Every Girl campaign is calling on entertainment and media industry leaders to create an environment where young girls feel valued and are defined by healthy media images of themselves.

We envision a time in the very near future when all forms of media – especially television, films, magazines and advertising – will honor the intrinsic value of every girl. We are working to make that vision a reality!

The American Psychological Association reports that the three most common mental health problems for girls – eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem – are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media.

The prevalence of sexualized media images is having a devastating impact on generations of girls and young women:

Mental health problems including eating disorders, low self-esteem, depression.

– Nine in ten girls say the media (88%) place a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin. (Girl Scouts)

– Half of girls between three and six say they worry about being fat. (British Journal of Developmental Psychology)

– 31% of girls admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a strategy to lose weight. (Girl Scouts)

Fewer girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

– Objectification from others and from girls themselves (self-objectification) has been shown to reduce cognitive performance and is linked to lower educational achievement (Fredrickson, Roberts, Noll, Quinn, & Twenge, 1998; Quinn, Kallen, Twenge, & Fredrickson, 2006).

– Accepting stereotypes that equate girls’ worth with physical attractiveness narrows girls’ expectations for themselves and the appeal of certain fields (Davies, Spencer, Quinn, & Gerhardstein, 2002; Davies, Spencer, & Steele, 2005; Yoder & Schleicher, 1996).

We are demanding that media producers and distributors alike address this call. Therefore we the undersigned call on you to:

1) Reduce sexualized depictions of girls and young women on screen and in print.

2) Reduce sexualizing messages in advertising and in product merchandising.

3) Provide more visibility to non-sexualizing plots and storylines involving girls and young women.

4) Create more non-sexualized female role-models in advertising and entertainment programming.

By signing the 4 Every Girl petition, I lend my voice to this urgent call for a media environment that honors and respects the true value of Every Girl.

1 Comment

Filed under Companies in the Spotlight

One response to “Companies in the Spotlight: Victoria’s Secret

  1. With regards to Victoria’s Secret, and PINK’s Bright Young Things campaign, you are reporting some false information. You are wrong to link Lori Greeley’s name with this product because she has nothing to do with the PINK assortment. The president of PINK is Denise Landman, and the CEO and President of the VS megabrand is Sharen Turney. If you are trying to point fingers at anyone for this product or ad campaign, then look to Sharen and Denise. Lori has nothing to do with it. Thank you!

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