Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pretty in PINK

In the early 2000s Victoria's Secret launched a new line of garments - PINK - designed to appeal to the college set.  College co-eds, as it turned out, were not wildly crazy about having the big PINK letters on the duds they wore.

So, some clever marketing manager at Victoria's Secret decided to aim for a younger crowd:  girls in high school.  They were surprisingly delighted that, while the older high school girls felt ambivalent about the clothing line, it caught on like wild fire with "tweens" (kids between the ages of 9 and 12) and young teens.

The PINK line is now amazingly popular and successful.  They even have their own segment on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show televised annually in late November.

Since I am guilty of purchasing items from that line for Teen 1 and Teen 2, a PINK flyer (complete with $10 off gift star for in-store purchases only) hits my mailbox each November.  Making that first purchase a couple of years ago, for such young girls, in a store filled with products designed for seduction was difficult.  But ... it was on their Christmas list ... so what can you do?  Insist on buying something with a camouflage motif at an outdoor store?

It does say something about the direction and priorities of our society when a commercial enterprise, such as Victoria's Secret, employs this particular marketing strategy to entice girls to want their PINK products.  Presumably their subsequent intent is to provide these young customers with a sample of the "look" they should aspire to when they're older by including the following image in their PINK flyer sent to all previous customers:

Perhaps that's why we read of girls in high school having breast augmentation and other surgical procedures normally done by young adult women who believe that "bigger is better" or 30 and 40 year-old women who are beginning to lose skin elasticity and are beset by the undeniable forces of gravity.

It's my understanding that tweens and teens on Facebook are "enhancing" their profile pictures, which is the precursor to air-brushing done by photographers of already beautiful fashion models and celebrities.

It is my belief that this focus on kids' having the right "look" rather than reading the right "book" contributes to American students' slipping in the ranks of world-wide academic achievement.  This distraction by the importance of "enhancement" of body image and dressing seductively -- allowed and apparently encouraged by parents -- results in less emphasis on learning and academic achievement.

Low-riding skin-tight pants, crop tops (aka belly shirts), form fitting low-cut tops ... along with French manicured and acrylic nails, strapless gowns and high-heeled shoes have been a staple of the "Millennial" Generation (a term coined by generational theory authors William Strauss and Neil Howe) for the past decade at least.

Ironically most high schools strongly advise parents of girls to have their children inoculated against the HPV virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer.  Abstinence as the default choice has apparently fallen by the wayside.

Where will it all lead?  Who knows?  But when these young ladies arrive, they'll be all decked out and "pretty in PINK."

Author's caveat:  Although LOS would prefer to discuss politics rather than fashion with grand kids, she has to admit they're extremely capable when it comes to helping Gram navigate her way through the gut-wrenching technological challenge of the on-line ordering system for PINK products.


  1. Pink (or even PINK) is not my favorite color, basically because it represents the way marketers approach women in general. Want to sell an item to women? "Shrink it and pink it." Doesn't matter what it is, if a company is marketing to a female consumer, it is going to be pink. Heck, I've even seen tool belts sold in pink--and this was all well before pink became the color of choice for breast cancer awareness. (Speaking of which, why do you think that pink was chosen as the color for breast cancer awareness? Marketing, plain and simple. Pink sells.) God forbid we may want something from a different place in the color spectrum.

  2. Jade, in preparation for tonight's post, I read about the history of the color designation of pink for women. It was fascinating. Apparently came out of a practice in identifying and segregating groups in Nazi Germany in WW II. How far we've come ... not! Personally I like red ... and just think where we could go with that!

  3. Times they are a chang'in for sure. I use to love pink. Now it makes me want to puke!

  4. I would not want to be a teenage girl these days. I can't imagine what they must go through with all the peer, media, and merchandising pressure. I thought it was bad enough when my daughter was growing up. She is now 24 and is very much a "natural woman." However, there were those times when we spent our share of dollars at all the "in" places and she was brand and label conscious, although not to excess, for a few years, probably more during the tweens than teens as she spent her high school days wearing Catholic school uniforms. Nail polish seems to have been her biggest cosmetic expenditure. She didn't seem to buy into the hype as much as some of her classmates in middle school, but I think she did not feel part of the popular crowd. She wasn't a girly-girl, but not really a tomboy, either. Her favorite color from the time she was four or five until about fourteen or fifteen was: PINK!!! It drove me nuts. Then one day she said she couldn't stand pink anymore and that was the end of it. She's always been thin, but not due to any eating disorders. I remember one time, maybe when she was seventeen or so, she asked me if she would ever "have any boobs," but she seems comfortable now with her small breasts. Her favorite place to shop now: thrift stores. And I haven't seen her in pink in years. I guess she survived all that stuff.

  5. Teaching abstinence doesn't work, it never has. (posted by Susan...not sure why it says "Unknown")