Culture Jam Assignment


The advertisement I chose is from a marketing campaign for the Victoria Secrets Body by Victoria collection. The ad contains nine models all wearing the Body by Victoria line. This ad suggests that it contains the perfect body. Being an ad for Victoria Secret the definition of the perfect body is exceptionally narrow. Almost no variation in the definition of beauty is displayed. Each woman shown is of model height and weight: thin and tall. What the ad presents is an idea of perfection that is nearly impossible to achieve. Women have no control over their height, or the physical characteristics they are born with. As for weight, this idea of perfection can be a struggle to achieve, and food-related disorders can occur in an attempt. The ad itself shows little variation to the female body. The only differences showed are slightly different hairstyles and colours, a variance in eye colour, and a slight variance in skin colour. This ad shows almost no diversity. Every model is young, tall, thin, and able. One of the nine models is a woman of colour. No other ethnicities are displayed. The one women of colour appear airbrushed and lightened in colour.

The problem with this ad is the message it is selling. As with most advertisements, it is not only the product being sold but an illusion. This ad implies an idea of look how great this item looks. The women purchasing these items are going to look different then the narrow scope displayed. What kind of message does it display to the diverse consumer of Victoria Secret? Your not perfect, buy this, and maybe you will be one step closer. This ad for women lingerie is ultimately playing on the insecurities of women to sell their product. A clear message of if you do not look like this model here, then your not perfect. These messages that perpetuate insecurities are necessary to drive capitalism. If ads made us feel happy with what we have and who we are, we would buy a lot less.

This version of the “Perfect Body” is meant to be unattainable. It is a never-ending chase for perfection created by advertisers to keep the capitalist economy thriving. The current idea of perfection is exclusionary in essence. To sell something as perfect you are creating an exclusive category that minimal people fit in to. Specific characteristics are designated as “perfect,” while everything else is labelled as not.

This ad is selling something that is not available for purchase. A specific type of beauty. I believe that on a subconscious level we buy items for more than just the item. If advertisements and marketing did not find a way to make people feel like they are not enough, and they need more to be satisfied, capitalism would not survive. We buy item after item in a way chasing the unattainable fantasy of the “perfect body” or perfect material item. Never genuinely maintaining satisfaction once it is purchased. As the item being sold is never quite as it is advertised to be.

Perfect needs to be defined in a way that embraces every single person for their unique attributes equally. A definition that does not place characteristics on a hierarchy. Perfection needs to be inclusive and diverse. Age does not define the perfect body. Ethnicity does not define it. Nor is it defined by ability. The perfect body includes individuals of all physical characteristics. Ad campaigns should promote woman as being perfect as they already are. They do not need to be thinner, taller, younger or have fairer skin. An ad campaign that instead says you have a perfect body already: “Perfect Fit, Perfect Comfort, Perfectly Soft, for Your Already Perfect Body.” Beyond the perfect body, the value of women should not rest on superficial premises.