booby trapped

Confessions of a Tween Victoria’s Secret Wearer

Good Morning America dedicated the entirety of its Tuesday “Heat Index” segment to Jenny Erikson, a mommy blogger who “says she’s okay with her 9-year-old shopping at Victoria’s Secret.” Two weeks ago, in a post titled “Victoria’s Secret’s New Teen Lingerie Is Something All Moms Should Be Happy About” for, Erikson wrote, “As the mom of a girl that is soon going to decide she doesn’t want cartoon characters on her underwear, and will be wearing a bra sooner rather than later, I’m going to have to figure out where we’re going to purchase them. It’ll probably be Victoria’s Secret — and I have no problem with that.” She went on:

I even like that fact that they are marketing toward a younger audience. What’s wrong with having fun, bright-colored underwear? Girls change all the time in front of each other — for sports or recreational activities that require it, at slumber parties or camp, for the school play … no one wants to be the girl with the ugly underwear. 

She also applauds the brand’s “high-quality product” and “knowledgeable salespeople,” but ends with, “That being said, if I ever see a lacy red bra or G-string marketed for my kid, you can bet I’ll have something to say about it.” On GMA, Erikson stuck to her arguments, adding, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having cute panties or bras from the big girl store,” and explained that she’s attempting to find a happy medium — “You’re trying to make them feel pretty, but you don’t want them to feel bad about their emerging sexuality.”

The show then brought on “one of the fastest rising female talk radio personalities in America and the host of A&E’s hit intervention television series — Monster In-Laws,” Mel Robbins, apparently an expert in this very field, who claims Erikson is asking for trouble: “All you need to do is roll the clock forward four or five years — if you’re buying a 9-year-old lingerie — they’re going to be Snapchatting that lingerie in a matter of years to their friends.” When one of the anchors interrupts, “Well, that line [Pink] reportedly isn’t lingerie,” Robbins recommends she take her child to Target or Old Navy.

Confession time: I was a 9-year-old who shopped at Victoria’s Secret. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint why, but I’m pretty sure the piles of other girls’ dirty laundry at summer camp contributed to my must-have-this-now attitude. When I was 12 years old, not that I had anything to put in them, I invested in some VS bras, which I hear are useless once you become a C-cup. And my mother was fine with it because the “underwear was normal,” she tells me now. “It wasnt sexy, it was just nicer patterns,” which is basically Erikson’s argument. Granted, this was all before the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (1995), the beginning of the younger line Pink (2002), Justin Bieber’s birth (1994), the introduction of the word tween (2003, per Urban Dictionary), and the popularity of Snapchat (2012).

And look at me: I turned out arguably okay! Alternately, I’m also Erikson’s worst nightmare. When shown a six-pack of Fruit of the Loom briefs on GMA, she remarked, “I would not put my tween in underwear that looks like that because, then, I think you might be falling into the ugly underwear trap.” Don’t worry. That happens around age 25, when a girl can’t be bothered to do laundry and Duane Reade is on the way home.

Confessions of a Tween Victoria’s Secret Wearer