This ad was done by Victoria Secret in 2014 for their perfect “body” bra. It shows 7 of their “angels” all of which look to be the same height, size, and shape. Most of these women look visibly white (except one) and able-bodied. The angels all have long legs, toned stomachs, and large breasts. They’re all wearing a bra and panty. The repetition of the word “perfect” on the ad exaggerates the social pressure of having to have or pursue a “perfect” body. What is the problem? Victoria Secret is associating thin, tall, white women with the “perfect body.” Although they are not obviously or specifically stating that these women have the perfect body, the ad not showing or advertising a diverse and inclusive group of women is not only an unacceptable social move but also a lousy marketing move. How do women of colour, disabled women, trans, and queer women feel when their representation is not shown in this advertisement? Why should they invest in a company that only advertises one type of woman? These women that are advertising the lingerie are employees and not an accurate representation of the women around the world that wear Victoria Secret. Frankly, it is irresponsible and outdated to do this kind of exclusionary advertising.
Victoria Secret is no stranger to controversy. Over the years they’ve received intense scrutiny for not booking trans women in the annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show. Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, has blatantly stated that he refuses to put trans and plus size women in the Victoria Secret show (Capon 2018). The reasoning behind the choice is that they are selling a “fantasy” and to their “demographic”. Razek literally says “we market who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world” (Capon 2018). Although it is understandable that as much influence as Victoria Secret has, at the end of the day they are a business. The problem is, why wouldn’t you want to sell to trans or plus size women? Victoria Secret think they are so incredibly diverse for including 2 or 3 women of colour but refuse to admit that trans and plus size women are part of their demographic. How do you even measure if trans or plus size women are part of the demographic? There isn’t exactly a questionnaire involved. I think that it is an excuse and so with my culture jam I added the unspoken truth of the advertisement. It’s important to note that none of the adjectives used are intended to insult the models, but mock the advertisement. Genetics are the first and most important, not everyone can achieve this body and not everyone wants to achieve this body – it is not the supreme body of the world. In order for these women to maintain their body, they have to strategically eat and exercise. It is their job to be fit and thin, in fact it is their only job which makes it manageable. Photoshop is so magical! But I don’t doubt these women look that different without the photoshop. Cosmetic surgery is so common nowadays, why are we pretending like it’s not? At the end of the day, big corporations like Victoria Secret (L Brand) have a lot of influence on young people and people in general. I don’t doubt that the lifestyle of a Victoria Secret model involves trained professionals that assist them in maintaining their physique. Trained professionals like nutritionists.
Capon, L. (2018, November 12). Victoria’s Secret revealed why they don’t cast transgender and plus-size models. Retrieved from https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/fashion/a24920354/victorias-secret-transgender-plus-size-models/