Earlier this week, I found myself involved in a very stimulating debate on Twitter regarding this subject. Also participating were such luminaries of the Twittersphere, blogosphere and various other spheres as Elisabeth Dale, Cora Harrington, and Ali Cudby. What sparked it all was this:
You can read the full story behind this here. Disclaimer: my command of written and indeed, spoken Japanese is zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Or, as the saying goes where I come from, the square root of f**k all (if there are any mathematicians reading this: yes, I do know that the square root of f**k all isn’t really a number at all).
What this is all about is lingerie, possibly aimed at a younger market, themed on various Disney “princess” characters. It should be pointed out that it is, at this time, unclear whether these products are officially licensed/sanctioned by Disney. Some of the comments (not from the fine ladies mentioned above, I hasten to add) this has provoked have been along the lines that they shouldn’t be marketing “lingerie” to young girls. Here’s my take on this:
1) The word “lingerie” originates from the French word “linge”, meaning literally “washable”. Over the years, its English usage has gained sexual overtones. Mention of the word “lingerie” evokes, in many peoples’ minds, Victoria’s Secret, crotchless panties, corsets, suspenders and the like. Fact is, in the English language, the meanings of words change over time. Example: Those of us of an age to remember “The Flintstones” may recall the last line of the theme song. “We’ll have a gay old time”. 50+ years ago, “gay” meant “happy”, “carefree”, “fun”. Some would argue that it still does, but that’s a whole other debate. Although, this does raise an interesting point: how come both couples had a child, yet we never saw Wilma or Betty pregnant? What WAS going on with Fred and Barney? But, as I am fond of saying, I digress. These are pretty little bra and pantie sets, that’s all.
2) What’s here is all rather innocent. I recall, back in the UK, some 20-ish years ago the ASDA supermarket chain (incidentally, now owned by Wal-Mart) carried a range of undies for younger girls that were a little prettier than the usual things you would find. A little bit of lace here, a little bit of embroidery there. It wasn’t peep-hole bras for 12 year old girls, and neither is this. However, there was an outcry from the “usual suspects”. Churches and the like. My daughter would have been about 11 or 12 at the time, I didn’t have an issue with her liking something like this, and neither did my ex. We actually thought it was a rather cute idea.
Final thought: is there really something wrong with teaching our daughters, even from a relatively young age, to take a bit of pride in their presentation from the very basics out? I say no. What say you?