Dear Christians, Victoria's Secret is NOT the problem

This message being brought to you by hysterical Christian parents:Victoria's Secret! Is targeting teenagers! We Are Outraged! Boycott All The Thongs!

This message being brought to you by Been There-Done That:

I'll start boycotting Victoria's secret just as soon as Christians start boycotting purity culture. 

Sure, there was a time when I was all outraged about Victoria's Secret. I was calling it soft porn and so help me God I was not gonna allow MY children to be ASSAULTED--yes! assaulted!--by Public Pornography!

I'm still not happy with the way VS advertises but I'm also concerned about the ways we Christians have promoted harmful ideas about female sexuality.

I ranted against Victoria's Secret because it was EASY. 

What's harder? Taking a cheap shot at an easy target or examining the ways I'm complicit?

Before Christians cast the first boycott, let's examine the ways WE have promoted harmful ideas about sexuality.

We idolize virginity. And oh, yeah. We have our very own Fake Christian Female. She is a mythical creature living in the fantasies of preachers who promote purity rings and purity pledges and write open letters to underwear companies pleeeeeading that they cancel their product line! Because. OUR DAUGHTERS' WORTH WILL NOT BE DETERMINED BY A SLOGAN ON A THONG!

OK, but are we equally outraged by how Christians promote the Mythical Christian Female in our churches?

Are we outraged by this Mythical Christian Female who is a modestly dressed virgin all demure and submissive on the outside but whom, behind closed doors on her wedding night, magically transforms into a wanton porn star performing strip-teases for her husband?! (Probably in Victoria's Secret lingerie)?

You know, I'll get outraged about Victoria's Secret just as soon as Christians start getting outraged about the way we've taught an entire generation of evangelical Christians that waiting until they are married to have sex will result in Amazing! Fantastic! Firework! Sex! Forever!

I'll get outraged when Christians boycott a company for actual Christian values like exploiting cheap/slave labor.

I'll get outraged when Christians quit taking the EASY ROAD of outrage and start CHANGING the actual culture.

Because yes, if the broader culture is to be blamed its harmful values then WE CHRISTIANS are also complicit. Because WE have our own harmful culture and let me tell you: purity culture directly harmed me far more than some stupid slogan on a thong.

The problem is NOT outside us. And neither is the solution.

Victoria's Secret is NOT the problem.

Sexy lingerie is NOT the problem.

The problem is shaming sexuality.

The problem is thinking I'm protecting my child's sexuality by....asking Victoria's Secret to pull its product line.

The problem is refusing to examine the ways we Christians have contributed to a church culture that fetishizes sexually pure (and sexually eager!) virgins who wouldn't dare dress immodestly (except in the bedroom! tee-hee! to the pure all things are pure!).

We think we're promoting a healthier self-image for our daughters by....threatening to boycott Victoria's Secret?

We think we're encouraging healthy sexuality by...writing open letters about how slogans on underwear "make us sick"?

We are missing the point by about 500,000 Facebook shares.

And as Christians, we make ourselves utterly laughable when we write open letters demanding companies get in line with our "values." Because, frankly? The only thing Christians seem to value right now is signing petitions, ranting all over Facebook and blaming a CLOTHING COMPANY for "coming after" our little girls.

 The problem is NOT outside us. And neither is the solution.

The solution is for us Christians to truly examine our own misogynistic, Christian culture--a culture that idolizes the Mythical, Fake Christian Woman.

The solution is for us to eradicate the myth of the submissive, devout, modestly dressed woman who also moonlights as a strip-teasing porn star for her husband.

The solution is for Christians to LIVE a shame-free sexual ethic.

Until that happens, Imma lay out by the pool in my Victoria's Secret bikini and catch some rays. Oh, and so is my daughter.

Update: Thanks to everyone for commenting and contributing to this conversation! I told my kids we'd do something fun during spring break today and oddly enough, their idea of fun isn't Mom sitting on the computer moderating blog comments. :) So, I'm closing comments. You can send email or disagree with me on FB. Pool, here we come!