The appearance of the Victoria’s Secret catalog in my physical mailbox brings up a bevy of thought bubbles in my all too chattery mind.
"What a waste of paper! I already get all the emails!"
"Resist the temptation to use the coupon!"
But, the back cover of the "Bring on Summer – Swim 2014" edition brought on a whole new inner dialog.
A lovely, blond model, her front side facing the serene ocean so as to give us a good look at her backside, gazes over her shoulder, eyes in the signature VS come–hither stare, lips seductively parted, beachy-hair spilling over her shoulders. She is clad in a salmony-peach lace midriff top and the tiniest slip of an aqua bathing suit bottom. The image is captioned with, "This bikini bottom right here? It’s called the Itsy and it belongs on you."
Um. I don’t think so. NOT. ON. ME.
The "Itsy" is Victoria’s Secret’s latest effort to clad the masses in sexy this and sexier that. It is essentially a "Brazilian" bikini bottom, in the thong style – meaning that about half- to three-quarters (depending on the size of your rump, I suppose) of the underside coverage is missing. The fabric travels into the nethers of the "cheeks" and is accented by strategically placed ruching to accentuate curves.
Although I have seen this style displayed on the beaches of Maui the past couple of years, there is something about the prospect of seeing this at Bradford Beach that makes my own lips curl into an Elvis-like snarl.
On a personal level – although I wish I had the parts and confidence to pull it off, I know that this would not be my most flattering choice in swimwear. Until there is a way to airbrush my fanny in real life (or it miraculously decides to lift and plump itself into CoCo Austin territory) I will choose a bit more coverage.
And although functional (these suckers actually do stay put during athletic endeavors such as surfing and swimming hence the toned, tanned Chaka-broads rocking these on the island oceans), I just couldn’t bare being so literally bare. Plus, the thought of the accompanying sunburn makes me crave buckets of aloe vera.
On the prospect of the general public getting really into this style, I am torn. I cannot imagine this will be a wide-range good idea for most women strictly in terms of socially accepted aesthetic attractiveness. This is especially seeing as the majority of skin square footage on most hineys has been well hidden from the sunshine for many a year. I am not sure the beaches of America are prepared for this onslaught of perpetual full moonage.
However, I am also simultaneously caught in the web of self-acceptance and positive body image that wearing something like this also communicates. Perhaps the "Itsy" is the ultimate expression of "I’m OK with my body."
I know this sounds contradictory, hypocritical and maybe even mean, but I just don’t think this particular cut of swim bottom is going to be aesthetically palatable on the masses. And my fear is that the way VS mass markets it, using the images that they do, is that it gives women a false idea of what they are going to look like in these garments. It’s as if there is a transfer from the photo in the catalog directly onto shopper that provides the illusion that the way the model carries off the look is the way it will look in real life.
I associate this "transfer" phenomenon with the "American Idol" auditions where the prospective contestants who cannot remotely carry a tune attempt a Mariah Carey song. They truly feel as if they are nailing it because they are hearing MARIAH in their heads, when in reality they sound like a feral cat in heat, wailing at 3 a.m. on top of a fencepost.
This "transfer" is of course, also two-fold – as these clearly and heavily Photoshopped images also present an unattainable standard of beauty women unfortunately compare themselves to and unrealistically aspire to attain. Myself included. (But, that’s a whole other load of junk in the trunk to discuss.)
I am also highly concerned about the age group that will be buying and parading around in this particular item. Victoria’s Secret certainly has a teen and even pre-teen customer base as evidenced by its PINK collection that is marketed directly at this demographic. I have a terrible feeling that this is the same group of consumers, all too willing to over-sexualize themselves at way too young an age, that will be drawn to the Itsy.
Before you yell at me and say parents should control what their children purchase and wear, I will yell right back at you and say good luck with that. Parents with the best intentions and even the most control sometimes cannot monitor purchases secretly made and covertly quick-changed into before arrival on the beach.
For those wondering how this swimsuit is any different from the thong underwear that has become so wildly prevalent, well – most women don’t really parade around in public places in the Victoria’s Secret "Lacies" like it is intended of the "Itsy."
And then there is of course, the wayyyyy other end of the spectrum as demonstrated by my husband, who lovingly picked up the catalog in question while I was typing this and commented, "How come when I saw this bikini bottom, I wanted to write about it too?"
Looks like summer 2014 will be revealing on many fronts for the female bottom line.
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