Your mannequin is giving me impure thoughts!

Sam Hart

2007-12-04 21:32:20

I love Indiana. We have such rational and sane people here.

In case you haven't heard, a group of Carmel mothers are trying to get Victoria Secret to change the underpants on the store mannequins. They complained that the dummies were too racy. Isn't Indiana, and Carmel in particular, great? We have women like Lori Baxter there to protect us and our children from plastic dolls dressed in lingerie. Because there's nothing more evil in this world than suggestively posed plastic faux women wearing lingerie inside a lingerie store. Heaven forbid a store displays what they are known to sell, and have sold for 30 years.

So, to recap, and to get this straight, a Christian Fundamentalist mother, one Lori Baxter, goes to a Victoria Secret, a store that even the most clueless person would know is a store for women's lingerie, finds lingerie that offends her... and then complains to the Simon organization [company that owns the mall], Mayor Brainard and Victoria's Secret [corporate] to get said lingerie replaced with something that offends her less.

Boggles the mind, no?

I mean, I'm sure if I went into the Life Way Christian Store, or the Creation Museum, I'd find a hellova lot to be offended by. In fact, I'm sure I'd be a lot more offended than Lori Baxter was in Victoria's Secret. But the thing is, I wouldn't be surprised by it. I wouldn't be going into these places and then be shocked that they had idiotic things promoting Intelligent Design while at the same time attempting to thrash real science. What kind of a moron goes to a Victoria Secret and doesn't realize there's going to be scantily clad mannequins?!

Mrs. Baxter also used the tired "think of the children" argument in her complaint:

"We are trying to raise our children to embrace the virtues of modesty and chastity. We are against displays and windows that objectify and degrade women..."

Shit like this always chaps my hide. First of all, it's a cop out. It's saying if my children grow up to be crack addicts selling their bodies for a hit of cocaine, it's not my fault, it's the fault of my perceived "evils of the world" (e.g., television, video games, music, books, sexy lingerie). People like Mrs. Baxter need to take some responsibility for teaching their children themselves instead of trying to bend the world around them to shelter their children from perceived evils.

Second of all, her argument is a fucking logical fallacy, specifically the logical fallacy of appeals to emotion. Why, oh why do people like this never understand logical debate?!

Third of all ("Third of all?") she's making a pretty bold statement saying that lingerie objectifies and degrades women. Well, there are plenty of women who would disagree. Really, determining anything that objectifies or degrades anything is going to be highly subjective anyway... what makes Mrs. Baxter think she's speaking for all women when she says things like this?

Elsewhere, Mrs. Baxter is quoted as saying “Sexual images make children have sex younger". Wow... where do I begin?

Firstly, no one can make anyone do anything. People always have a choice. This goes back to the whole not taking responsibility thing I said above. If two consenting persons have sex, it's not because sexual images made them.

Secondly, I assume she means "have promiscuous sex" instead of "have sex younger". I doubt very much she's saying Victoria's Secret mannequins will somehow make a couple of four year olds have sex (and if she is saying that then, GAH! What the hell is wrong with her?!)

At any rate, her claim isn't one that's backed up by credible evidence. Studies have shown that children exposed to such imagery aren't any more likely to become promiscuous than those unexposed to them. Listen, kids are kids... and they are going to start having sex whether you've raised them in a repressed environment or not. The only difference is that kids raised in repressed environments tend to have more sexual hang-ups later on than those who were raised in environments where sex wasn't this evil taboo.

Studies have shown that abstinence programs don't curb teen sexuality [1] [2]. Others have shown that teens who have sex actually wind up in more healthy adult relationships [3] [4]. So it seems to me that parents trying to shelter their children from "sexual images", like friggin' plastic mannequins in lingerie, are doing more harm to their children than good.

And you know what the kicker to all of this is? After the complaint, Victoria's Secret changed the lingerie. They put on more clothing on the mannequins. They replaced panties and thongs with pajama bottoms, and covered the bras with lacy pajama tops. But that still wasn't good enough. Lori Baxter said that the sagging pajama bottoms are still too suggestive. Who in their right mind would think sagging pajama bottoms are too suggestive?!

Furthermore... suggestive?! What did you think you'd find in a lingerie store?! Of course it'll be suggestive. That's like being shocked that a sporting goods store has gear for hunting.

Lori, honey, if you don't want suggestive, maybe you should go and shop for your underwear at J.C. Penny.