As boys age, their clothes get baggier until their bodies disappear. As girls become teens, their attire becomes so small and tight to the point that the clothes disappear.
Wed, Oct. 31, 2007
Karen Heller | Naughty - and definitely not nice
By Karen Heller
As we well know, Halloween marks a sanctioned occasion for girls to dress up - or is it down? - like the trollops of MTV and get candy for it.
They're sweet tarts, Lolitas-in-training with lollipops.
Young people may be shocked to learn that MTV began life as a music channel, one that aired a constant stream of videos with nubile women in scanty clothing.
Today, MTV is a "reality" channel featuring the appropriately named Hills and frisky bisexual and ultimate MySpacer Tila Tequila, her claim to fame being that she's an equal-opportunity tramp.
The music on MTV is now used to set the mood. Only the women in scanty clothing have remained the same.
Indeed, it's one of the few constants in contemporary culture on which you can depend. Another is a strange permutation of sartorial physics. As boys age, their clothes get baggier until their bodies disappear. As girls become teens, their attire becomes so small and tight to the point that the clothes disappear.
The holiday Victoria's Secret catalogue arrived the other day because nothing quite says Christmas like a Very Sexy® Infinity Edge™ Snow Leopard convertible push-up bra with Gel-Curve™.
How do we know it's Very Sexy®? Because it's written all over the bra, subtlety being anathema to the company.
A colleague immediately hid the catalogue of supermodels busting out all over, not so much from his 16-year-old son as his 13-year-old daughter.
A quick perusal through the 188-page doorstopper reveals marketing no longer directed at his wife but teen girls, if not tweens, contributing to what my colleague labels the continuing "slutification of America."
Victoria's Secret's Pink line, launched in 2004, has bloomed into a $1 billion brand. The company publicly promotes Pink to college kids, but dog prints, slumber party pj's, sweats aping soccer attire, camis and panties in ice cream-cone packaging suggest a decidedly younger demographic.
Have we mentioned that there are dress-up dolls "plush and pretty for the ultimate girly-girl?" Sure, that's what every college sophomore desires.
The catalogue features a "supermodel pj party," vixens in sequined bras and flannel bottoms - right, that frequent combo - without a cigarette, champagne bottle or Leonardo DiCaprio in the photo.
Pink is the Joe Camel of thongs. The line is advertised in YM and Teen Vogue magazines, which boast 12-17 aspirational demographics. The success is in the bottoms. All you need to do is count the number of teens with "Pink" plastered on their rears, the word in the VS world being more suggestive than simply being a "girly-girl." What kind of parents are paying for these clothes, which give strangers the pleasure of reading their daughters' keisters?
Going after a younger "Santa's naughty list" demographic is as logical as it is distasteful, the idea being that from the Pink sleepshirt it's just a few pages to the bustier and Brazilian panty.
Most teenagers like to shop. Many, sadly, want to appear older than they are at precisely the moment when their mothers' bodies are heading in a decidedly different direction, one more suited to Spanx slimming intimates than the Very Sexy® Infinity Edge™ Snow Leopard convertible push-up bra with Gel-Curve™.
Sometimes it seems as if the American Dream is all about trying to become something we're not and can never become, no matter how high our credit limit.
It's too bad that adolescence has become such a market-driven moment. Shopping shouldn't be what defines our identity, though, sadly, it often does. When parents have to hide a lingerie catalogue from their girls, you know a Very Sexy® shift has occurred.
Contact staff writer Karen Heller at 215-854-3586 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To read her recent work: go.philly.com/karenheller.
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