Setting the Right Example.

God
I found myself reflecting back on some of my recent posts…

And it got me to thinking…am I setting the right example? Sure, we all can get ‘fired up’ about certain topics. We can all state our ‘opinions’ (which we know, are like blank and everybody’s got one). But I guess it’s how we deliver those messages that really set or don’t set the right example…

Recently there was a trending topic about the owner of a restaurant (a woman) who yelled at a toddler who was crying in her restaurant. Since there are two sides to every story, the argument seems to revolve around the woman owner yelling at the toddler vs. the parents not removing their child from the restaurant. As a mom, I do not feel it is appropriate for another adult to yell at my child, no matter what the circumstances. However, there are others who felt were happy she yelled at the toddler as one individual commented, “Kudos to the managers for setting that mom in place. So sick of parents not parenting.”

Now here’s where I get fired up. Parents not parenting? First, you weren’t there, so let’s just hold the phone on that one. Second of all, what makes you think they weren’t parenting? And who are you to judge? Have you ever taken a toddler to a restaurant? It’s not the easiest thing to do but that shouldn’t mean those with toddlers can’t go out to eat! This is where I believe everyone starting jumping on one bandwagon or another and the media went crazy with its exploitation of the situation (are you surprised?).

I guess my point is that we need to set the right example in life, especially those of us that have children/watch children/are children caretakers/etc. And sometimes its hard to figure out what those examples are. My baby doesn’t have the capacity to understand ‘no’ yet or how to reason. Here’s a great article explaining this if you don’t believe me. So if we’re in a restaurant and I tell her to stop yelling and she doesn’t, I’m not a bad parent and she’s not a bad kid, she’s just at the age (12-18 months) where she’s learning to express herself through her voice. I do tell her ‘no’ in a quiet tone or we don’t talk like that in a restaurant to encourage her to stop or distract her with something if needed, but I don’t yell at her. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where she makes me so angry and I do yell (then of course I see that scared look on her face and immediately apologize and hug her!), but does that make it right? Do I want her to learn that every time she is upset or frustrated she can yell? No.

There are things in life we all have issues with. I don’t think there should be websites for married people to have affairs. I don’t think Victoria’s Secret should target teenagers to buy their ‘lingerie’. I don’t think Facebook is an accurate representation of people’s lives. These are my opinions. And maybe I haven’t gone about them in the right way, but it’s how I feel. Our feelings are what drives us. They make us passionate, crazy, angry, excited, fearful…the list goes on. We live through our feelings. But just because you feel a certain way doesn’t give you the right to act a certain way either. If I feel mad at a co-worker I can’t just go and punch them. I mean, I can, but I would most likely lose my job and be facing a lawsuit in the process.

I want to be a better example…and my example starts from Jesus and my faith. Here’s a man who was ridiculed, betrayed by one of his own and persecuted. He died for me and my sins…for the sins of the world. That is the ultimate example. And no, I’m not saying you need to die, but I’m saying that sometimes setting the right example isn’t easy, but there is a reason for it. I want to be someone my daughter looks up to. My love for her is like Jesus’s love for the world. I would die for her. If I had to, I would without hesitation so that she could live. Sometimes while I believe my intentions are good, I don’t always say things in the right way to get my point across. The point becomes lost in my rants. I think the same goes for most people.

So as I reflect upon the example I want to set, I know one thing is for sure. I want the best for my daughter. I want to give her the best of me, so that requires more patience, more practice and more understanding to those around me. There are lots of situations completely out of my control, but how I behave as an individual is not. If I can’t respect myself, how can I expect anyone else to? It’s time for me to start setting the right example not only for my daughter (and God willing any future children), but myself.

Dear Victoria’s Secret…

Dear Victoria’s Secret,index

Can I call you VS? I think the endless amounts of money I’ve spent in your stores and once-Angel-holding-card-member gives me that right. I hope this message finds you well. I know that you are super busy sending out magazines to every household in the world of your catalogs even when they aren’t subscribers (is anyone besides college fraternities?) with your gorgeous models so perfectly Photoshopped (check out this great site to see some really botched up Photoshopped images: The Illusionists). But I’m hoping you could indulge me a bit…supermodels-beforeafter

In my twenties, I lived for your stores (and your online shopping). I couldn’t wait for the swimsuit issues to come out. I bought at least five swimsuits every issue. I received a pair of flannel pajamas every year for Christmas (and matching slippers!). I had what felt like a never-ending supply of 5 for $20 panties. I even enjoyed your semi-annual sale commercials where the British lady would tell me how “bras and panties are up to half off”. I owned pretty much all of your PINK sweatpants and a large majority of your workout clothes too. Let’s face it, I was one of your VIP customers.

But now, I’m a mom. And that doesn’t mean that moms can’t shop at Victoria’s Secret, it means that as a mom of a one-year-old daughter, I never want her to. So please…PLEASE target the appropriate age demographic for your stores. As a thirty-something-year-old, do you think PINK targets me? Do you think PINK targets anyone besides teenage girls? Because that’s just what we need, more teens wearing slutty lingerie. Why not? Isn’t there a shortage of teen pregnancies these days? And yes, I understand the act of having sex isn’t consummated through lingerie but what else are your ads/stores/ridiculously young half naked models promoting? Because it’s not a slumber party! And don’t even get me started on your holidays commercials…

I value your need to conform. I really do. You need sales and young girls need…what would you call it? Confidence? Yes, young girls need confidence. They need to feel good about themselves so let’s push bras and underwear (I LOATHE THE WORD PANTIES!) on them. Better yet, let’s make a brand called PINK and make it all ‘cute’. Oh and let’s add some sports/university lingerie too because that’s important for college girls, having their university or some ‘cute’ saying about their university plastered across their ass. I’m embarrassed to admit I have a sleep shirt by PINK that says “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” As a wife, it could maybe pass as cute, maybe…if you’re newly married and under the age of twenty-seven. But as a high school or college student, it’s not cute. It’s degrading.

Women want more respect. They want to be treated as equals with men. But when is the last time you saw a man wearing underwear that said “come and get it” or “pay attention”? Why are women expected to be sexy all the time and why do we encourage it?! WHY? The selfies, the duck face photos, the bikini shots, the boob shots….what the shit?!

I mean seriously, what the shit?! The problem is we’ve all done it. We have. You took a selfie or a bikini photo at some point in your life. And if it was recently you probably posted to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. However, if we cannot respect ourselves then how can we expect others to?

There must be a start and Victoria’s Secret you are it. Stop advertising to young girls! Just stop. Being sexy at sixteen isn’t cool, it’s called a bad reputation. No one under the age of eighteen should be in your store without a parent. PARENT!!! There should not be high school girls shopping with their boyfriends at your stores! Don’t you find a problem with that? Oh wait, you don’t. You just want sales and everyone to salivate over your televised fashion show which is pretty much the Miss America Pageant in lingerie…ok, now walk and wave…watch those wings, Angels!

Don’t get me wrong, your models are stunning. They really are. But that’s not my problem. It’s how you advertise them. It’s the marketing strategy you have targeting young girls. It’s calculating. It’s corrupt. It’s cruel. Because the thing is, we need young women to gain confidence without having to expose any of their body parts. We need young women to feel beautiful without changing who they are. And if we continue down this rabbit hole, it’s only going to get worse. What happens when eleven and twelve year old girls are shopping at your stores? Will you be comfortable selling them lingerie? What if it was your daughter? If you are Victoria’s Secret then where are the women in your company? Because there’s no way in HELL there are moms pushing for these kinds of ads, especially if they are moms of teenage daughters. And let’s not forget how Photoshopped your pictures are! WE ALL HAVE FLAWS! That’s what makes us human. These images are such a distorted version of reality! What are we really teaching here? That nothing is real? Sure seems like it…

The sad reality is you won’t change…but I will. I will stop going into your store. You’re not the only place that sells bras and underwear (for anyone interested Gap Body makes bras that are way more comfortable and last longer than VS). I will continue to throw away your catalogs and coupons. I won’t miss you. Not one bit. And as my daughter grows up, I will tell her everyday how beautiful she is. And when we walk by your stores I will tell her that nothing in there will make her beautiful and to always remember that. It must be easy for you to sleep at night. You can’t ‘control’ who makes purchases in your stores and it’s not your ‘fault’ if someone misinterprets the brand you’re representing. Frankly, I don’t know what you’re representing but it’s not self respect and it’s definitely not about giving young girls confidence.

Thanks for listening and do me a favor, save a few hundred trees and never send me another catalog again.

Sincerely,

A mom who loves her daughter more than you could ever understand.