Protesters picket Va. Victoria's Secret

Saturday, October 8, 2005

McLEAN, Va. -- A new lingerie display in a Victoria's Secret storefront has attracted not just long glances, but also protesters and allegations the chain is promoting lesbianism and sadomasochism.

About 30 women -- no men -- picketed the Tysons Corner Center store Friday. Some of them weren't satisfied that store workers had toned down the display, and promised to boycott the newly expanded mall, now among the nation's largest.

A mannequin that had been tied up was unfettered, though it still leaned against a pole with arms raised above the head, and a rope and pulleys still loomed in the background. Two female figures lying spooning in a bed were replaced with a single mannequin sitting with legs crossed.

The company calls the display "Back Stage Sexy," and a company spokeswoman at the mall Friday said the Tysons store is the nation's third outlet to adopt the theme. She referred questions to a corporate spokesman, who didn't return calls.

The mall had gotten complaints almost since the new display went up, and after discussions with Victoria's Secret's corporate parent, Limited Brands in Columbus, Ohio, it announced Thursday that the display had been changed.

The protesters were unimpressed.

The display "is not about lingerie," said Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition. "It's about sadomasochism and three-way sex."

Others weren't bothered by the display. About 40 customers were lined up and roped off outside the store waiting to get in Friday afternoon.

"It was fun. It was different. That's what I liked about it," said Alexis Daisley, 19, of Vienna, who shopped at the store with her mother and left with a large bag full of merchandise.

"I had no problem with it, and I had no problem taking my daughter there," Lesley Daisley said.

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