For my entire life, my friends and I have been influenced by the ‘ideal’ body types shoved down our throats by Victoria’s Secret and the VS Fashion Show. Any time my friends would diet or overexercise it was because Miranda Kerr or Jasmine Tookes were bOdY gOaLs. The show has brought up a whole generation of women who hate their bodies, and Victoria’s Secret is only NOW pretending to give a shit about what women want. Too little, too late.
This week, Victoria’s Secret announced a massive overhaul of the brand as a way to somehow reverse over 25 years of damage. The new look VS will see the “Angels” scrapped and replaced by actress Priyanka Chopra and soccer World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe. I personally find Chopra to be a pretty weird choice, considering she was literally a Miss World pageant winner – a competition problematic in its own right.
Also joining Chopra and Rapinoe will be Australian-Sudanese model Adut Akech, Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, plus-sized model Paloma Elsesser, journalist Amanda de Cadenet and freestyle skier Eileen Gu. So congrats VS, you’ve ticked every diversity box.
I hate the VS Fashion Show and always have, but even I regularly look at pictures of Bella Hadid in her angel wings and think “damn, I wish I had that bod”. And then I have to remember that god gave me zero curves for a reason, and that was so I could tell mediocre jokes on the internet for a living.
But before I learned self-love, I pulled and poked every part of my body wishing it was different and then thought buying a VS Bombshell Bra would make me feel better. How good is capitalism, amirite? The system makes you hate yourself so much that you go and buy something that doesn’t even make you feel better.
Mind you, they didn’t even have my size when I went to buy one of those rock-hard bras. In the exact words of the shop assistant who served me: “Sorry we don’t have anything *that* small.”
But the show runs deeper than that. It’s also exclusionary of plus-sized bodies, disabled bodies, trans bodies, rarely uses models darker than a paper bag and WAS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT WHAT MEN WANT AND WHAT MEN FIND ATTRACTIVE.
There was a time where it felt like every girl wanted to be a VS model, so they could be HOT and marry some mediocre white man like the lead singer of Maroon 5 (Adam Levine) or that guy who looks like Bruce Willis but isn’t actually Bruce Willis (Jason Statham).
“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” CEO Martin Waters told The New York Times this week.
“We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
But what do women want? Yeah sure representation is great, but more than that we want to be equal. So how is a male CEO telling us what we want anything close to that?
We are out for blood. We want our power back.
You have taken our self-worth away and we’ve had to fight to get it back. When I asked my friends how Victoria’s Secret has fucked them up in one way or another, it really frightened me.
One friend told me: “I used to watch YouTube videos obsessively of little snippets, google the women and compare my measurements to theirs.”
Another mate recalled: “I remember in high school thigh gaps were such a thing and we would talk about the VS angels and how they had perfect thigh gaps when they walked. And then my goal of working out and losing weight would be to get a thigh gap.”
And I couldn’t put it better than this friend, who simply says: “I didn’t think I was hot because I wasn’t skinny, but the truth is: I am hot.”
So yes, good on you Victoria’s Secret for adapting to the new age. But unfortunately for you, we’ve already learned to love ourselves without help from a stupid runway show.