When women need new underwear, or want to look sexy, they walk into Victoria’s Secret. The brand has long been recognized for selling lingerie, a sultry alternative to the plain underwear that women bought before the brand came into popularity (Schlossberg). Victoria’s Secret lingerie was first praised by women because the brand made women feel confident in their own skin.
However, as media and advertisement started saturating the market, Victoria’s Secret, along with many other retail giants, began switching their ad campaigns to reflect what media portrayed as perfect and ideal. The photo above is an advertisement that Victoria’s Secret launched to promote their new “Body” lingerie line, along with the campaign slogan “The Perfect Body”. The underlying message given with this advertisement is that the women on this advertisement poster represent what society views as a perfect body. The idea that women have to be skinny and wear seductive underwear in order to be considered perfect is grossly misleading, as it undermines other body types that do not fit this image. Additionally, it is a known fact that the women on Victoria’s Secret’s ads are photoshopped and airbrushed to falsely portray flawless skin and curves (Scholossberg). Yet, with the help of media and false advertisement, brands like Victoria’s Secret put forth a strong message to women and young girls that being skinny and buying sexy lingerie are essential in order to look and feel beautiful. Their ad campaign negatively influences both male and female perspectives, as it influences individuals to think that “The Perfect Body” exists and should be the standard.
Schlossberg, M. (2015, August 3). How Victoria’s Secret’s core customers have completely changed. Retrieved February 27, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/victorias-secrets-crazy-history-2015-7
In my jammed ad, I made several modifications in an attempt to expose the different ways this ad is used to promote what media portrays as perfection. The first modification I made was to the caption. I swapped the “new” on the original caption to “all the same”, a statement that addresses the issue on Victoria’s Secret choice of models. The brand consistently casts young, skinny, and primarily white women, to be on their advertisements and billboards. The brand fails to acknowledge the diverse ethnicities, sizes, and figures that are apparent in our society. The second modification I made to the caption is adding the word “photoshopped”. Photoshop and airbrush features have become a key factor of manipulation, often convincing women and young girls that these images on ads are an accurate portrayal of female body figures. In order to emphasize the issue of photoshopping, I included the photoshop sidebar as a reminder that every curve and detail on this advertisement has been smoothed, pinched, and edited to the brand’s liking.
The final and most powerful statement I made on my jammed ad was the woman on the right. The woman on the right is meant to represent an average, commonly seen female in our society. She has a body that more accurately portrays the figure of most females, and is wearing plain underwear that is contrary to the sexy lingerie worn by the other models. She also represents all the women that are in minority groups. The clicker hovering over her now edited face is meant to represent the brand’s efforts to try and erase her face and body, and replace it with a skinny white female instead. This powerful action illustrates how companies are not interested in showing the different ethnic backgrounds or shapes and figures of women. Instead, they choose to define beautiful as someone with flawless skin and sex appeal. By exploring the negative connotations and false message this simple ad projects, the purpose of my culture jam is to bring to attention the negative effects to body image and self-esteem that these ads bring.