What’s WRONG with these poor young women?


I mentioned earlier about going to the mall today.

While there, I puzzled over this poster in the Victoria’s Secret window: What’s wrong with this young woman? Is she ill? She looks peaked. Does her stomach hurt? Is she wasting away? Is this supposed to be a come-hither look? It seems rather off-putting instead. Has she been bitten by a “walker“? I want to offer her a blanket, and then step away in case it’s catching. It’s not exactly heroin chic, but it’s off in that direction. Are they trying to sell that bra? If so, this is no way to do it. It seems to be a burden to her, causing her shoulders to slump in defeat.

Poor thing…

But wow, she’s not nearly as strange as the one below, from a window a few yards away. What’s her thing? More like Devo chic, or wind-up doll chic?

Are these images supposed to be appealing? If so, to whom? Men? Women? Robots?

The popular aesthetic has taken a strange turn. Again.


36 thoughts on “What’s WRONG with these poor young women?

  1. Bryan Caskey

    “While there, I puzzled over this poster in the Victoria’s Secret window: What’s wrong with this young woman?”

    To me, the first woman’s look is a sort of scornful/disdainful look. I fee like she’s about to say: “You’re not going to wear that out meet our friends, are you?”

    The second woman’s looks is even weirder. I think you’re on the right track with the wind up doll. It’s almost like a clown.

    Neither look is attractive.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      “really, Doug, another comment on how we need to stop poor women from having babies instead of making sure schools are adequate”

  2. Mike Cakora

    C’mon now, Brad, you can’t be expected to understand the marketing of an outfit like “Victoria’s Secret” when you’re willing to put a pank (that’s the southern pronunciation, “pink” is used elsewhere as I understand it) jacket on a tyke just because it fulfills the intended function, warmth in the case you cited. That you and your wife eventually chose wisely (olive drab and orange are the favored colors for males this [hunting] time of year) shows that there’s some semblance of fashion sense in the Warthen household.

    One of my daughter’s friends is a manager at VS, so I will ask her what the point is behind those two displays. I think the first pic speaks to the sexy, sultry side of the intended customers while the second is pushing makeup. While I agree with Bryan that neither lights my fire, I think the ads are directed a females.

    All I really know about women and what they want is that they will tell me what I want and I will sure as heck like it. Unless it’s pank…

    BTW, the gal who works at VS shot an eight-point buck a week ago Friday and gutted it herself. Venison’s on the menu.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    VS “clothes” are often about appealing to men, especially those men quite a bit younger than you, many of whom find a woman’s disdain or aloofness a challenge, rather than a turn-off. I never could pull of an air of disdain or mystery, so I tended to attract less screwed up admirers, but…
    Sephora is about selling makeup to *women* (and other make-up wearers) who already have enough to kit out a touring company of Hairspray for several years, but seek to fill avoid in their lives with more shiny stuff. Sephora presents new “looks” to spark this. See also, MAC.
    To those of us who follow this, the Sephora woman has a very minimal, doll-like eye, with extra lashes and a winged eyeliner, a la Marilyn Monroe, with an exaggerated bright doll-like lip, more reminiscent of the roaring twenties.
    Sephora would not stay in business if it displayed the “natural” makeup look so many men seem to prefer.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        I have bought things from Sephora online, before Ulta came to a convenient in-town location, but I cannot deal with the boom-boom club-like atmosphere of the mall store. I am not in their target market, despite still searching for the Holy Grail red lipstick that stays put but does not dry out my lips…

  4. Mike Cakora

    I consulted with the VS employee. She said that the second pic is not from VS, but its objective is to sell makeup to women; the red ribbons and such are meant to evoke a holiday theme.

    The bra in that first pic is high-end with an $80 price tag. Most bras are $45-$55. I had no idea, having never bought a bra. To put this in Barns & Noble lingo for this blog’s proprietor’s benefit, bras and books are similar in that I’m more interested in the contents than the binding and cover.

    Females and books remind me of an old Martin Mull-ism: I ran across a very interesting book lately, Girl to Grab. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was volume six of the Encyclopedia Britannica as it opened its wonders to me: golf carts, glowworms, Giselle McKenzie…

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Except that VS bras are nowhere near as high quality as Wacoal, say, which cost only about ten dollars more than the average VS bra, but fit considerably better and wear three or four times as long.. A woman who is wearing a bra with sparkles on it either bought it for a man (and I mean man, since I doubt many lesbians find these appealing) to see, or was given it. A sparkly bra is not practical under any clothing, as the sparkles would catch. This is a bra meant to be seen…
      Bras similar in quality to regular VS bras are readily available for half the price of VS bras at Belk or Dillard’s, but lack the whole marketing edifice VS has. VS stages “fashion shows” and markets heavily, while the store brands do not. VS is selling the sizzle, not the steak.
      Obviously, plenty of you guys here are vegetarians when it comes to VS sizzle…

      1. Mike Cakora

        Your are correct, while we like to have a good time and enjoy nice things, we are “sensible,” more into function than flamboyance.

        It’s ironic that one of the dullest dressers in his industry, Steve Jobs, was responsible for some of the best designs the industry produced. His products were substantial, the designs were highly functional, yet each had its own touch of whimsy.

        At the other end of the spectrum lies Howard Hughes who applied his aeronautical engineering talents to designing a bra for Jane Russell in her role in The Outlaw. The device functioned well in providing the intended support, but was so uncomfortable that she secretly discarded it and used one of her own. So Hughes’ single foray into designing intimate apparel met the same fate as his Spruce Goose.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Jobs had a “look,” though, that was as spare and elegant as his designs. Architects and fashion designers often dress is simple black clothes, too.
          Contrast that with Bill Gates’s plaid shirts…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I had to look up to see who Tom Brady was. True story…

      On the elevator this morning, I did my best to hold up my end of a conversation about the Gamecocks. Toward the end, I was relying on “Umm” and “Uh-huh” as responses, hoping it would end soon. Mercifully, it did…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I clicked on the Wikipedia entry for his wife, and saw that “she was credited with ending the ‘heroin chic’ era of modeling.”

        Well, bless her for that. That’s the most positive thing I’ve heard about a “supermodel” in many a year…

    2. Bryan Caskey

      Just so everyone who may not know, who Bart is referring to, I your humble commenter, have done the difficult work of finding a Victoria’s Secret photo of Gisele Bündchen a/k/a Tom Brady’s wife.

      Just so everyone can compare…you know….for science.

      1. Doug Ross

        Ho, ho, ho, indeed…

        FYI, Giselle is considered the breadwinner in her family with Tom Brady. His net worth is only $120 million while her’s is estimated at $320 million.

        She seems to have done reasonably well even without a high school diploma.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Try to imagine that… It really boggles the mind…

          Try to imagine being SO good-looking that the world just gives you $320 million. For nothing but being good-looking.

          You just show up, and people get a look at you, and throw a fortune at you.

          What would that do to your head? I know it would make ME believe that anything was possible. I’d expect to run into a unicorn at any moment…

          1. Mark Stewart

            She has personality, too. That should never be overlooked.

            By most accounts she’s pretty down to earth; unless someone gets all starry-eyed around her. I can’t say I would blame anyone famous who just wants to be left alone and treated like a normal person out of the spotlight.

          2. Kathryn Fenner

            She has good business smarts. Lots of models are at least as beautiful as she is, but she knew and knows how to capitalize on her looks.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        The Twitterverse has responded with scorn. Just now, the number of people on the blog dropped to two…

        Oh, it’s back up to four. Still. It’s just not worth pandering, when this is the result…

  5. Bryan Caskey

    Cute puppies always draw traffic. Someone could probably do a whole blog where all they did was post one picture each day of a cute puppy, and it would get TONS of traffic.

      1. Doug Ross

        I’m not going to post a link because the photo was too disturbing, but one of the first stories I saw on Facebook this morning was about a 10 month old Weimaraner puppy that was beaten with a baseball bat.

        “When she arrived at the vet’s surgery in Winter Haven, she had suffered a fractured jaw, broken teeth, a broken pelvis, damage to her eye and eye socket, broken bones in her tail, while internal injuries were yet to be determined.”

        Reading the story confirmed why I believe in capital punishment. There are people who as a result their own actions don’t deserve to live on this planet.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    i also have a recent video of Phillip playing Beethoven in my living room, but he asked me not to post that anywhere. He already has the blog video from years ago at the top of his Google results….not enhancing his professional rep…

  7. Norm Ivey

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either of these women. They’re posing, which is what they are paid to do. Their images were selected for advertisements. Those advertisements made you stop and take notice. If they made you–a person who is in no way interested in the product being peddled–stop and linger, then I would bet that there are others who took notice, and who then made a purchase.

    Those images did exactly what they were meant to do.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      There was this picture posted in the Bush River Walmart for a couple of years that I often thought about taking a picture of, but didn’t. I wish I had.

      Now THAT picture was one that would make you buy something.

      It was a full-length shot of this beautiful young red-headed woman, standing in (to me) a plain dress in a field of grass or wildflowers or some such. It was a little smaller than life-size.

      She had this smile that did more to light up the picture than the sunlight. She was healthy, frank, open, effortlessly stunning and irresistible to look at — you just couldn’t walk by her without pausing for a second.

      She was standing casually, with one leg crossed in front of the other one. I want to say one of her hands was holding her shoes down by her side, like she’s just been wading in a stream, but I may be imagining that.

      It was a poster for some clothing brand they sell at Walmart — Faded Glory, or some such.

      She was located on a corner of the women’s apparel section. I would pass her walking from the back to the front of the store, with the grocery section on my left and the women’s apparel on my right.

      It was THE most appealing ad photo I’ve ever seen. I don’t think anyone — man, woman, child — could see her without being disposed to at least consider buying whatever she was selling.

      It was, to me, the opposite of these photos above.


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