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Culture Jam Assignment


In this advertisement, the company Victoria’s Secret advertises for their new line of lingerie called “Body by Victoria’s Secret.” The campaign features 9 light skinned, able bodied, and thin models all standing side by side, with the text “The Perfect Body” plastered over top. This ad blatantly states its intentions and aggressively pushes popular culture’s depiction of an attractive woman through its use of Victoria’s Secret “angels”. The models used in this campaign image have essentially no diversity within their ranks and all possess features in which the media idolizes and expects from young woman. All nine of the models shown are of an identical body shape, enforcing the idea that a thin and unrealistic body image is the equivalent to a perfect body. Furthermore, all nine of these models have long, flowing hair, a petite face, and are posed with soft, submissive body language, further reinforcing the notions that females are meant to be soft and gentle. Though the smaller print under “The Perfect ‘Body’” claims that the lingerie has “perfect fit. Perfect comfort. [and is] perfectly soft.”, the actual focal point of the photo itself is not on the lingerie, but rather on the objectification and sexualization of the models. The way in which Victoria’s Secret has chosen to present this line of lingerie speaks monumental amounts about their target audience, and what they wish to accomplish with this line of advertising. All in all, though this advertisement is realistically meant to promote a line of lingerie, it is full of negative image reinforcements which society continues to push onto young women through mass media. The usage of language, selection of models, and staging within the ad are all clearly emphasizing what society expects from young women, and the influence in which the patriarchy has over the media.


In my culture jammed version of the ad, I added the text “The Patriarchy Presents:” above the text which says “The Perfect Body”. Through identifying the male gaze within this advertisement, I convey exactly who the person claiming the Victoria’s Secret version of perfection is. The ad now clearly states exactly who the models selected in the campaign are deemed attractive to, as well as identifying the extremely exclusive form of beauty in which the patriarchy and the media continues to promote. The women standing in the background are now made clear that their specific version of perfection is no more than a fantasy of a perfect body in a male dominated world. Their bodies are being evidently paraded around as no more than a sexual object, making the advertisement’s offensive nature clear to all. Through this blatant identification of the power wielder in this situation, it empowers those who see this advertisement to realize the impossible standards and unrealistic expectations which exist for women. Furthermore, through bluntly stating what the ad is actually promoting, it draws attention to the lack of inclusivity within modern mass media. There exist many beautiful people and things which fall outside the categories of caucasian, thin, and able bodied, and the lack of diversity within mass media is explicitly displayed within this Victoria’s Secret advertisement. Despite minor progress in promoting diversity and differences in media today, it is important not to lose track of the amount of work that still needs to be accomplished. Without diversity in mainstream media, it is impossible for equality to exist, as only a specific brand of people are continuously being broadcasted and glorified. In this main dominated society, companies such as Victoria’s Secret, which are geared towards young female consumers, promote extremely unhealthy images and ideals through campaigns such as the “Body by Victoria’s Secret” ads.

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