Underpants wars, you guys! This is a real thing! ...Well, sort of. (Mostly, we just wanted to write "underpants wars" in a sentence.)
But really, check this out: earlier this month, outrage erupted over a new line of lingerie from Victoria's Secret, which—thanks to a spring break-centric ad campaign—a lot of parents thought were being marketed specifically to teenage girls.
The collection of underwear included cheeky boy-briefs with slogans like "Dare You" and "Call Me" scrawled on the butt, and people were very upset. The most common reaction by far: a lot of anger about the sexualization/objectification of girls, with one concerned father taking to the internet in a viral response that's been shared on Facebook and Twitter tens of thousands of times. An excerpt:
“I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior? Do I want to go to Texas A&M or University of Texas or some Ivy League school? Should I raise awareness for slave trafficking or lack of water in developing nations? There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves… not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a ‘call me’ thong?”
And these are definitely important questions! Although the equation of underpants emblazoned with cheeky sentiments = automatic objectification is debatable, in that whole tree-falling-alone-in-the-forest sort of way. (If a girl is wearing sexy underwear, but nobody ever sees it but her, is she a sex object?) And Victoria's Secret has cleared up the confusion, explaining that "Bright Young Things" was just an ad slogan for the longtime brand PINK, aimed at college-aged girls. Phew! Crisis averted!
But even if these underpants were intended for teens, is this really a big deal? What's so bad about a teenage girl wanting to wear flirty underwear? Does a fairy explode every time a lady under the age of 18 puts on a pair of impertinent panties? Are we all just one "Call Me" thong away from a life of wanton debauchery? Like, "TONIGHT, ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 9: Last week, this eighth grade girl was a loving daughter, a scholar athlete, and a friend to the animals. But after a trip to Victoria's Secret, the unthinkable happened: she bought a thong that said 'Call Me' on it. AND THEN SHE HAD ILLEGITIMATE TRIPLETS AND BIT THE HEAD OFF A CANARY."
Meanwhile, teenage girls are still teenagers, so it's not like the concepts of sex or sexiness are new to them; they're basically already thinking about that stuff all the time, or at least some of the time, no matter what kind of underwear they're wearing. And somehow, the world keeps on spinning. So in those all-important formative years, maybe a girl could apply to college, take calculus, and perform community service while simultaneously wearing cheeky underpants and wondering if that boy likes her or not? Girls are great multitaskers! Aren't a lot of them doing this already? And isn't it kind of insulting to suggest otherwise?
What do you think? Are cheeky underpants for teenagers a Thing That Is Okay, or should they all be shredded by panthers?