I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas-time commercials. Mainly, I hate being bombarded with Victoria’s Secret commercials. One of the commercials that’s plagued me this December is their “Tell Me You Love Me” commercial, a commercial that they update and roll out every year around holiday season.
As with most of their commercials, it features stunningly beautiful, angel-winged, lingerie-clad models rolling in sheets, posed spread-eagle on beds and prancing through beautiful estates. Throughout the commercial, the models are saying, “tell me you love me”; begging, you, the consumer, to fall into their trance.
On one hand, they are trying to suggest that if you just buy your wife or girlfriend a gift from Victoria’s Secret this Christmas, you are telling them you love them. On the other hand, the commercial is so sensual and the women are so alluring, that it’s almost impossible to watch the commercial without lusting in some way over the models. When we lust, as Jesus helped us understand, it’s like we are committing adultery in our hearts. In some way, we are engaging in an action in our mind that should be preserved for God’s loving creation of marriage. Anyone who watches that commercial will—in some way—likely not be thinking about loving their wife or their girlfriend (or themselves and their bodies as God designed them if they are women), but rather will be thinking, “Yes, I do love you… you’re boobs, those legs, those lips, that thong”. It’s an easy commercial to get lost in for a moment, which is why I hate that it’s spiked in between the commercial breaks in sports games and even in shows popular among teens and young adults.
As parents, first, I hope you’re being careful with your own media diet. When you see stuff like this, turn away or turn the channel. I hope that you husbands reading this will remember that one of the best ways to tell your wife you love them is not by watching this ad and then buying them lingerie, but rather by honoring and loving them with the thoughts of your mind, the actions of your eyes, hands and body and the words of your mouth. When my husband and I watch TV, we typically pick two or three shows we like and have them queued up so we can flip back and forth to the content we really want to watch and mostly avoid being pulled into any commercials. Secondly, it’s important that we’re aware of the content that our kids are consuming—online, on TV shows, in magazines, and in commercials like this. I think it’s critical to take time to sit down and watch the shows your kids watch with them and talk through the implications of both what plays out in the show and during the commercial breaks.
Recognize that Victoria’s Secret commercial like their “Tell Me You Love Me” one can have a strong impact on a young girl. She, like all of us, desperately wants to be loved and wants to feel beautiful. When those models beg: “Tell me you love me” and “Tell me you want me”, it’s sending a clear message regarding what a young woman needs to look like, do and be to gain affirmation and love in today’s world. It’s our responsibility to help teach our daughters where their true sense of self, love and affirmation comes from: not from looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, but from the Lord. If our sons are watching these commercials (or looking at pornography), we have to help them man up and learn that God is calling them to a higher standard that doesn’t involve objectifying women or lusting after them; we need to educate them about the long-term impact of taking in sexual images and content.