GRSJ Culture Jam Assignment

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Culture Jam Assignment_Juehee Kim



One of the most renowned underwear brands, Victoria’s Secret is famous not only for their products but also for their models. For many years, Victoria’s Secret has held multiple fashion shows and runway shows featuring beautiful models from all around the world. Many models wish to stand on one of these shows, as the models of Victoria’s Secret are represented as the ultimate female body goals and the symbol of feminine beauty.

In the most recent advertisement posted on Victoria’s Secret website, beautiful females with slim body figures are portrayed as the wannabes of many female population. The brand implies how such slim bodies are desired by the public – including both male and female – by describing them as ‘sexy from every angle’. Stimulating the consumers’ wishes, the ad conveys the message that the consumers themselves could become like one of the models if they purchase the product. The line ‘With VS Sexy Side Smoothing Solutions’ describes how the company’s bra can cover the fat sticking out thus making a smooth body line to help the consumers look more sexy.

I chose this advertisement as problematic since it propagates distorted female body images. Such ad is selling not only the product itself but also the idea that lean, fatless bodies are beautiful and that every female should want such body. It constructs a social norm for female beauty by exposing models with certain body figures and making sure that bodies that don’t meet such standards are ‘undesirable’ by the society. Such advertisements cause young girls and women to deny their own bodies and to desire bodies that are almost impossible to obtain, driving themselves into physical and mental disorders. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa are some of the examples.

I pointed out such message in my jammed version of the ad by bluntly visualizing the extremities of eating disorders caused by distorted body image. Women in my ad are those who suffered from anorexia who, despite such state of their bodies, still believed that they are not ‘slim enough’. As one of the persons who have suffered from eating disorders, I could also deeply relate in that no matter how much fat and weight one loses, one can never be satisfied with his/her own body in the mirror and still believes that he/she is not as attractive as the model in an advertisement. It wasn’t anorexia that I suffered from, but the bodies of women in my version of the ad shows how extremely dangerous it is to desire distorted beauty norm constructed by public advertisements.

I also wanted to highlight the misuse of texts in the ad by switching the original line ‘sexy illusions’ to ‘body illusions’. The models in the original advertisement are of course beautiful in their own ways, but one cannot deny that these images have been photoshopped and that the bodies in the ad are in some ways ‘undesirable’. Every body figure on the planet is unique, and even though the bodies in the ad have not been photoshopped, it would be difficult for many people to obtain body figures as those of the models. What the brand describes as ‘sexy’ I saw as an ‘illusion’, thus ‘body illusions’.

The line ‘sexy from every angle’ is changed to ‘bony from every angle’ since extreme desires for slim body figures can lead to dangerously emaciated physique lacking most nutrition essential for maintaining health. The line ‘exclusive beauty means no fat’ is a sarcastic way of pointing out the erroneous beauty norms, as is ‘with VS sexy side bony solutions’. The women in my ad believed stripping all fat from their bodies is a way to achieving the ultimate beauty – an illusion they could never acquire even after putting their lives at stake.

Considering that many of the advertisements around us are propagating and requiring females to adopt dangerously misleading beauty standards, this culture jam exposes the risky illusions hidden behind beautiful products and models, hoping that many females would reconsider the idea of beauty and would realize what it is that the advertisements are selling.


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