Culture Jam Assignment

Original Advertisement

Problem with Advertisement

Victoria’s Secret is a world-famous women’s lingerie brand. They are known for featuring models known as “angels” in their advertisements and annual fashion show. This advertisement from 2014 is another example of Victoria’s Secret using attractive women with unrealistic body types in their advertising imagery. What Victoria’s Secret is trying to convey with this advertisement is that if you buy and wear their merchandise, then you can achieve the “perfect body” just like these models. Of course, this is untrue and perpetuates unhealthy body image perceptions for women and girls viewing the advertisement. A woman whose body type does not match the models’ will see themselves as literally “imperfect” and inadequate compared to the models. This especially affects young women growing up in today’s society, where we value appearance more than ever before. Teenage girls are already vulnerable to having poor self-esteem because of the culture of comparing themselves to other women that they see in school, or in the media. A teenage girl seeing all of these models with the same skinny body type might be pushed in the direction of an eating disorder to try and obtain this unrealistic body type. In addition, this advertisement features only one non-white model. This further alienates women of colour, because they see the “perfect body” not only as unattainably skinny but also white. This advertisement should be explicit in saying that this is only one body type that represents women, and by no means is there a single “perfect” body type. In fact, women should be encouraged to be confident in their own bodies even if they don’t look like the models in this photo.

Jammed Version

Explanation of Jammed Version

I decided to change the main word in the advertisement from “perfect” to “unrealistic”. I chose the word “unrealistic” for multiple reasons. First of all, it represents how all of these models have very skinny figures, which is simply not attainable for a lot of women. There is no shame in being skinny, but there is no shame in not being skinny either. Simply put, all body types are valid and should be celebrated. It is also unrealistic that only white women would be able to wear these bras and have these bodies. Even though there is one model of colour, the predominant ethnicity of this advertisement is Caucasian. It is important that women of colour are represented in the media and allow young girls of colour to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. It is obvious that women of colour can also have skinny body types, but without being represented in the advertisement, those women will look at the advertisement and think that they are also inferior because they are not white. In addition, I changed the tagline from “Perfect Fit. Perfect Comfort. Perfectly Soft.” to “You do not have to look like this to feel good in a bra”. I did this because I believe that young women need to explicitly know that those models are not “real” people. They devote their entire lifestyle to looking a certain way that is not attainable for most people. Even seeing all of those women in a picture together would be enough to change a young woman’s perception of her own body image in a negative way because of comparing herself to the models. Therefore, by explicitly stating that women do not need to look like those models, it hopefully takes away the effect of women comparing themselves to those models and perceiving themselves negatively because they don’t match that specific body type.