First it was Pepsi’s “skinny” can, now it’s underwear? The latest fashion victim of politically correct Western culture is any company who dares manufacture and market children’s undergarments. This week’s target of angry moms and bored journalists is French company Jours Apres Lunes, accused of sexualizing young girls and endangering childhood as we know it.
Jours Apres Lunes uses the term “loungerie” to describe its product, enraging people about associating children, lingerie, and all sorts of things that go bump in the night. Looks like the fashion neighborhood watch has been watching too much Nancy Grace. Time for a quick etymology lesson.
Google the definition of lingerie and you’ll find the following:
Noun: Women’s underwear and nightclothes.”
There’s no mention of sex or carnal seduction. Lingerie is nothing more than a fancy word for plain old underwear. It’s calamari to squid; caviar to fish eggs.
It’s marketing campaigns from the likes of Victoria’s Secret and La Senza that have succeeded in sexually re-branding the word. “Underwear” can unearth embarrassing childhood memories, and some girls cringe at the mere mention of “panties.” Lingerie makes the shopping experience exciting, luxurious, and full of possibility. It makes ‘wants’ out of ‘needs.’ It even makes these products giftable- no one buys their girlfriend underwear for Valentine’s Day. What lingerie really lifts isn’t boobs; it’s the bottom line.
Keep in mind Jours Apres Lunes doesn’t even use the term lingerie. The company says they create “loungerie.” But apparently this made-up word starting with “L” and ending with “erie” too closely matches the public’s corporate-dictated definition of lingerie. Sorry kids, you’re stuck wearing loincloths because adults are scared of a big bad word that doesn’t even mean what they think it does.
But words aside, much of the controversy lies with the brand’s catalog images. The child models sport pearls, Jackie-O sunglasses, and voluminous Brigitte Bardot-inspired hairdos. Critics claim these “adult” styling choices promote the sexualization of young girls. One even said the ads are part of an “international problem” that’s “changing the image of young girls.”
When’s the last time you saw a grown woman try to catch a man by dolling herself up with a beehive ‘do and her grandmother’s pearls? These aren’t sexy adult styles; they’re what little girls put together when they play dress-up. Far from being unnatural, there’s nothing girls love more than trying on their mother’s highest heels and lushest lipstick. Throw in some pearls, and they’re ready for teatime with Barbie- not a date with R. Kelly.
Critics are projecting their grownup fears onto kids’ innocent fun. By nature, little girls want pretty things and to feel like one of the adults. That’s why it’s such a big deal to sit at the ‘grownup’ table, and why even diaper commercials use the slogan “I’m a big kid now!” It’s why staying up late is such a treat, and why pushing the shopping cart is an honor. A pint-sized bra makes them feel more like mommy than Britney.
Chasing these desires out of young girls is what’s unnatural and harmful. This atomic freakout over underpants from France reveals more about our tainted perspective than it does skin. Loosen up about the lingerie.