Original Advertisement Analysis
The advertisement above is for a campaign done by Victoria’s Secret promoting a new bra that is supposed to have the perfect fit for every body. The advertisement features a line up of models in lingerie with a major tagline “the perfect body”. The advertisement utilizes narrow standards of beauty in order to attract female consumers. From the tagline, it seems to imply that the women in the picture have “the perfect body” and wearing their lingerie affirms it. The problem, however, is that all of the women pictured have a similar body type: thin and long-legged implying that the perfect body type is that of a thin super model. Furthermore, there is a lack of significant diversity in terms the representing women of colour in the advertisement. In this version of the advertisement there are 9 models and only 1 of them is a woman of colour, while an expanded version had 10 models and 2 women of colour. In addition to that, the woman of colour chosen for this advertisement are on the fairer side. This suggests that darker skin tones are imperfect and not apart of “the perfect body”; similar to how body shapes where categorized.
While Victoria’s secret has long been the largest retailer of women’s lingerie and have featured thin super models almost exclusively. To outright label them as having “the perfect body” is troubling. Precisely because of their place in society and their annual fashion show, they have the ability to influence a wide range of women. From teen girls to women in their late 40’s, similarly from ultra-thin to plus-sized women. This advertisement takes aim at these women’s insecurities, leading them to believe if they are not as thin as the women pictured then they are far from perfect. This particularly promotes a culture of negative body image and eating disorders, both of which are serious health problems. Since attractiveness and beauty have been linked to this specific narrow standard of beauty, for women who do not fall into this category it can cause self-esteem issues. Where you’re feeling as if you lack in beauty and are unattractive effect your self-confidence.
When jamming the Victoria’s secret advertisement, I decided to keep the tagline but change the other blocks of text. The original text under the tagline read “Perfect fit. Perfect comfort. Perfectly soft.”, which holds to the theme of being perfect. So, in attempting to keep that continuity I changed it to “for us it’s perfectly thin and perfectly fair-skinned”. Further down it invites consumers to “explore the collection”, which I changed to “because we don’t believe in inclusivity and good self-esteem”. I believe this subtle approach in changing the advertisement helps keep its foundation and highlight it’s problems, the lineup of women chosen and the major tagline.
The goal of my jam was to highlight the absurd message of the advertisement. By definitively stating their definition of “the perfect body” as “needs to be perfectly thin and perfectly fair-skinned”. I sought to reveal the consequences of their choice in models. By making it clear as to who they believe possess “the perfect body”, it allows viewers to be aware that they are being sold on a particular standard of beauty. Further, to solidify how the advertisement is using exclusivity in order to sell their product, I included “because we don’t believe in inclusivity and good self-esteem”. Revealing that this product is exclusive to this body type as well as lack of care about what it implies. On the other hand, perhaps taking aim at the social and health impacts the advertisement could lead was another possible approach. However, I do not believe that implying the women pictured represent eating disorders or other health problems would have been fair to them. Since there is no evidence to suggest they are products of eating disorders or negative body image. All in all, the changes are meant to reveal that this product promotes harmful standards of beauty and has serious social consequences.
CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Nov. 2014, https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2014/11/07/mxp-victorias-secret-ad-change.hln.