Underwear thievery might seem like the kind of activity reserved for dirty old men and cartoon gnomes, but try telling that to the acquisitive teens whose activities formed the basis for book (and soon-to-be-released movie) The Bling Ring. As it turns out, these mostly female miscreants stole mad underwear. And not just any underwear: Miranda Kerr‘s underwear.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Bling Ring author Nancy Jo Sales discusses the potential reasons why those wily adolescent criminals would want to wear the Victoria’s Secret model’s used lingerie (the interview question references Sales’ research on the store’s teen-targeted Pink line):
It’s really alarming to find out, through doing the research for the book, about the explosion of teen and even child lingerie. That market has become a billion-dollar market. Like teddies for teenagers—it’s so disturbing. Their obsession with underwear had something to do with this whole “pornification” thing. They wanted to look sexy. Looking sexy in a celebrity’s clothes, well that’s even sexier. Especially Miranda Kerr, who’s a Victoria’s Secret model. The fact that they stole the underwear just seems so weird, but it’s not weird when you think about it, because they’re growing up at a time when their culture is constantly telling them to be sexy. Everything from toys to video games to music to fashion is hypersexualized for girls. Stealing their underwear was part of a whole trend to emulate these celebrities. They don’t just want expensive underwear; they want Paris Hilton’s underwear.
So basically, if you let the television raise your kids, by the time they’re 13 they will want to be Victoria’s Secret angels so badly that they’ll steal Miranda Kerr’s underwear. Good to know! I guess she’s lucky they didn’t just murder her and wear her skin as a suit. (But if I had to steal someone’s underwear, I’d probably choose Miranda Kerr too, because she probably has so much of it she wouldn’t even notice.)
She also discusses the class-based reasons for the string of robberies, which she likens to storming the gates of Versailles:
It’s really about class resentment and income resentment. Celebrities are not necessarily the richest people of all, but on the face of it, they seem to be representative of the very richest people. The very richest people are people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, but Paris Hilton appears to represent this “rich bitch” kind of flippant heiress.
Every single one of the people they robbed was connected to some entertainment product that was about wealth and privilege. Paris, it was The Simple Life; Audrina Patridge, of course, The Hills, about rich girls in L.A.; it just went on and on. It’s really so much about America today, the inequality of wealth distribution and the way that affects people’s psyches, and kids’ psyches, and the way that it causes all of these unattainable desires. It trickles down in stuff like YouTube shopping vlogs—haul vlogs—or in extreme cases, the Bling Ring.
So basically, if you raise kids in a materialistic society that values expensive things above all else, but don’t provide them with a clear or easy path to attaining those things for themselves, some of them are going to get impatient and steal shit. Makes sense to me.
Personally, I cannot wait to see this movie, which was directed by Sophia Coppola and stars the amazing Emma Watson. Taken together with Spring Breakers and that infamous news clip of the Florida girls who stole cookie money from a Girl Scout, it might just tell us everything we need to know about the current state of youth in America.
(Via Vanity Fair)