Last night, Victoria Secret hosted their annual Fashion Show on CBS. A comment by Martha at “I Don’t Love Pink” inspired me to write a little response to the feathers, fur and fabulous bodies featured last evening. In response to Martha’s questions.

What happens when lingerie becomes mainstream entertainment?

We find ourselves quite interested. I mean, how can you not be? This is probably worse for women than men. How do we cultivate the capacity to watch these shiny bodies without feeling sort of dull?

How do you watch lingerie shows? Open-mouthed? Critically? Amazed? Delighted?

Can you bask in the goodness of God’s beauty in these women’s bodies?

Honestly, some are easier to enjoy than others. I like the freshness of this woman wearing a tinker-toyed skirt, for instance. Suggestive, sure. But she feels like play and hope all rolled into one.

Yes, that’s Bieber in the background

Reminds me of the way Victory Liberty loan used scantily clothed females on posters to bring hope (and sales) during World War I. I snapped this woman last week in the magnificent museum of Cantigny in Wheaton, IL.

Victoria’s Secret begins with their love for using a female form as a canvas. They paint more beauty than most of us see all week. And yet, I wonder, what exactly are they selling?

An experience? What do we buy into when we admire these clothes?

What do we want when we buy a fantasy bra?

Any fashionistas want to give us some tips?

For a round two on Victoria’s campaign “Love Pink”, let me introduce Mandy Orozco, a beautiful friend of mine who could be a model (seriously, folks).

Mandy loves to cook, eat, and run often, so it’s a great arrangement. Mandy has been serving on Soulation’s board since its inception, and has been Soulation’s Director of Development for the past 2 years. She works as a nonprofit consultant when she’s not chasing after her two rough-and-tumble boys or having good conversation with her beloved philosopher husband.  Mandy and I have been good friends since graduate school swapping good reads and creativity for making our homes and souls more beautiful.

In Mandy’s words . . .

I was all for the Victoria’s Secret Pink campaign when it first came out several years ago. As a young Christian dating my soon-to-be husband, Pink offered more realistic bedtime options and I thought this would be an easy way to bring sexy into even everyday sleepwear. 

But while I was perusing the then-fresh Pink line, a dear friend of mine pointed out what is deeply disturbing with Victoria’s Secret Pink: it’s marketed to high schoolers. Go look at their marketing. Young girls modeling a more “accidental” lingerie. It’s marketing sexy sleepovers. It’s designed to look like you stole your boyfriend’s boxers or hoodie after you shacked up.

Highschool . . . or grade school?

We lose one for womanhood when we buy into that – that this is what high schoolers should be wearing or this is what sexy women look like (e.g. 16-year old models).

But Victoria’s Secret does bring something to the table.

Interesting statistic: women shopping at the mall feel more feminine, glamorous, and good-looking when they carried a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag. There is something empowering and confident about lingerie. And healthy when it’s in the right context.

Sexy lingerie is correlated with longevity in marriage. It shows effort made on the part of the woman, and communicating this effort to your spouse is important. It’s also important because the wife needs to be able to express herself and feel confident sexually, and lingerie can help that.

Jonalyn’s previous post on this is accurate – sexy isn’t just discardable sex. Sexiness isn’t a one-night-stand. That’s not sexy, that’s just sex.

 And sexy isn’t wearing “Love Pink” on your butt or breasts. That’s just cheap.

Sexy is having a healthy sexual relationship with your spouse where you’re pleasing each other, where you’re looking out for him and he’s looking out for you.

And where Victoria’s Secret misses the mark is sexiness isn’t just the fresh-faced 16-year old. Sexy is growing in age and wisdom, learning how to please your spouse and how to ask for pleasure, regardless of the stretch marks and pocked skin. That’s something the narrow-mindedness of Victoria’s Secret shows no understanding of.

Thank you, Mandy.

Let me be very honest and clear.

I still love and buy lingerie. Victoria’s Secret knows, as I know, there’s power in that lace and boning.

But I don’t expect lingerie to turn me into a sex goddess. Clothes, even those as stunning as VS showed us, can only do so much to shape my soul to be sexually holy, can only give me so much boning to make me sexual strong. I need more, I need a God who took on flesh to make me strong and holy enough to steward my own sexuality.

And that is just one more reason to be glad he came to us, in a little town called Bethlehem.