Parents complain about racy ads near mall play area

September 26, 2011 9:40:37 PM PDT
A North Bay mall has been flooded with complaints about its new play area for tots. The play area is fine, but some people aren't so crazy about its next door neighbor.

Managers at the Northgate Mall in San Rafael say it was an accident. A little over a year ago, the people planning the spacious indoor playground had no idea that Victoria's Secret was negotiating a lease right next door.

"I was thinking, 'This is great!' and then I looked up and right behind it were basically nine half nude pictures of women," mother of two Susan Zelinsky said.

Zelinsky says her two young daughters saw the life-sized, illuminated billboards and had lots of questions.

"And they were, 'Why were they naked, mommy?' And it was uncomfortable, but it's questions you're going to get from your children," Zelinsky said.

And in a play area meant for kids shorter than 36 inches, a parade of 36C breasts doesn't exactly top the list of what parents want for a backdrop.

"I don't feel that children should have to look at that when they're playing, it's not really appropriate for this age group," parent Hana Natov asid.

So Zelinsky filed a complaint and then started a page on Facebook.

"I had about 100 people commenting," Zelinsky said.

The mall listened. In the past week, they have installed decorative trees as a temporary divider. But the coverage is about as thin as the lacy undergarments on the other side.

"I like that they're making an effort toward solving the problem; that's really positive," Zelinsky said.

But some parents are quick to say the trees don't go far enough.

"It just kind of makes a curious toddler mind want to search further and deeper," April Natov said.

Zelinsky says she wishes Victoria's Secret would just advertise robes or pajamas instead.

"I'd like to see healthy images up there for kids," Zelinsky said. "If they're going to put the playground there, let's put something that's a healthy body image, not women in their underwear in seductive poses."

Mall managers say if Victoria's Secret doesn't change the ads they may have to move the playground and that would mean making it smaller.

Victoria's Secret has not returned ABC7's calls for comment.


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