The objectification of women as sexual objects is nothing new. But as companies begin targeting younger and younger girls, fueling dangerous body-image problems and diminishing self worth, it is our job as parents to teach our children critical consumerism.

The internet is all a-flutter over Victoria's Secret's new line Bright Young Things — a branch of their Pink collection, which is evidently the company's line of lingerie geared toward a more youthful audience.

Bright young things?

By youthful, it appears they mean 15- or 16-year-olds. In January, Limited Brands' Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer stated, "When somebody is 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that's part of the magic of what we do at Pink."

We'll get to that "magic" in a moment.

But first, let's get one thing clear: 15 or 16 is a conservative estimate of Victoria's Secret's target market. At their November fashion show, they featured Justin Bieber as the main performer. Yes, that's right: The tween heartthrob. You know the age range of Bieber fans? Ten to 17.

Ten, 11, 12, 13, 14...

So young.

Thank you for making explicit your objectification of females, for calling it what it is: turning humans into "things," sexual things, to be exact.

But let's just go with the conservative. Let's assume our friends over at Victoria's Secret (that was dripping with sarcasm, by the way) are targeting girls aged 15 or 16. (Though in the recent backlash they've said their line is geared toward "college girls," the CFO's statement and the inclusion of Justin freaking Bieber lead me to believe otherwise.)

Let's start with the name: Bright Young Things. Well, yes. Thank you for making that clear: My daughter is a "thing." She's an object. Not a person. Thank you for making explicit your objectification of females, for calling it what it is: turning humans into "things," sexual things, to be exact.

The Victoria's Secret image

And now, let's talk about this Pink line itself... about the push-up bras and the panties with "wild" across the crotch. Let's talk about the towel that says "call me meet me like me kiss me," and "I'm here I'm loud I'm wild I'm free." What exactly do you mean by "wild" and "free?" Hmmmm. I have a few ideas.

Let's talk about the emaciated models with bones bulging, the string bikinis, and then, let's talk about the budding trend of "thinspiration" among teen girls (blogs depicting skeletal women as "inspiration" and thinly-veiled, pro-anorexia websites) and the obsession with "thigh gaps" (when you put your knees together, if you're a skeleton, your thighs won't touch and you are in waif heaven!).

We know where they stand. We know where they are. They're interested in money, profit, a new market in the form or your daughter and mine.

Let's talk about every one of those models, disturbingly thin, unrealistically thin, wearing hyper-sexualized clothing in a line geared toward girls as young as 15.

But let's not talk about it with Victoria's Secret. We know where they stand. We know where they are. They're interested in money, profit, a new market in the form or your daughter and mine. Of your tween and mine. I'm seeing a lot of irate bloggers reaching out to Victoria's Secret, almost begging them to stop marketing to young girls, to stop sexualizing our daughters.

They won't stop. They will probably never stop. Maybe someday.

But I, for one, am not waiting for that day.

Let's talk about it with our daughters

Let's talk about it with the ones that matter, the ones who will have to make these decisions someday, maybe today or yesterday. The ones who must find themselves in the maelstrom in this world, in a world that wants to starve them, diminish them, break them, until they're so desperate they'll do anything to get thin — to look good — and they'll spend any amount of money to get there.

Let's bring our girls to the computers and open up this discussion. Why? Why is this happening? What are they doing?

What does this all mean? What values are being portrayed here? What does it say about women?

Let's pull back the veil of beautiful women with perfect bodies in string bikinis... ah don't they just look so cool? No, not really. They look sick.

Let's engage our girls' brains and ask them the hard questions: What does this all mean? What values are being portrayed here? What does it say about women?

Why do you think they're doing it?

And let's talk to them about corporate America, about being a critical consumer, about how the quality of one's very life depends on the ability to think in the face of marketing, materialism, and the blatant exploitation of humanity.

Are we raising thinkers? Or are we raising sheep?

What are we doing, mothers and fathers? Are we raising thinkers? Or are we raising sheep?

Maybe they'll choose to wear Victoria's Secret someday (um, hopefully when they aren't 15?). Whatever. But they'll do it knowing what they're doing.

They'll know that they are more than panties or bras. They will understand what's being fired at them at point-blank range — every single day — and they'll know their self-worth and sexuality and heart will never be defined by a pair of underwear, or the soulless corporation that made them. They'll see it for what it is: a shred of pink lace made in China, with a matching bra!

And nothing more.

Or they'll can the whole thing all together with a shrug and a smile, in one almost imperceptible gesture — like brushing fuzz off the shoulder of a jacket, or waving to a friend driving by, like a laugh rolling off a disinterested tongue...

"Sorry, but they aren't any Bright Young Things here."

Keep on looking, man. You've got nothing for me.

And, I have absolutely nothing for you.

More support for teen girls

5 Lessons your teen daughter can learn from Stella Boonshoft
Teen body image, courtesy of mom's issues
Is it an eating disorder?

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