Analysis of Original:
The image above was taken from the official Facebook page of Victoria’s Secret. A very interesting detail to note is the photo manipulation done to the model on the right. Her body is disproportionate as seen from the unnatural curve of her waist and the exaggerated shading of her abs. Moreover, her chest has been enlarged and are uneven as her left breast is smaller and plumper than the right. These manipulations done on the model results in the peculiar form of her right arm. The model on the right, albeit with less obvious digital manipulation, also shows a disproportionate figure, especially noticeable are her thighs, most likely caused by the effect of achieving a concave stomach.
Victoria’s secret is one of the largest and most successful brands dominating women’s lingerie, most likely attained from successful marketing techniques that are targeted toward young women through the Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion Show, and the branding of the models as Victoria’s Secret “Angels”, as well as a strong social media presence. Yet despite the popularity of the brand, it is still unable to respond to current outcry for body positivity and diversity as demonstrated by the image above. Additionally, through the photo manipulations and the dubbing of the models “angels”, we are provided with fantasies and unrealistic expectations of what the ideal figure is. Thus, in an era where the topic of body positivity is sparking conversations, the largest lingerie company should start participating, yet the images that they provide often speak otherwise.
Jammed Version of the Ad:
The texts on the original photo were “Ask an angel, tune in to Facebook”. However, I edited the text into “Ask the angel on the right,” as well as adding additional text underneath the photo with “what is her secret to the perfect body”. By juxtaposing the carefully marketed and fantastical connotations of the phrase “angel” with the image of the digitally manipulated model displayed by the company, I aim to reveal the absurdity of the ideal figure that we are constantly presented with.
According to Reaves et al. young women tend to experience anxiety over their weight due to media glamorization of thinness; fusing it with beauty and sexual attractiveness. Due to the unachievable standards of beauty projected from digital manipulation, women often fall victim of the erosion of body satisfaction and self-esteem, promoting the incidence of eating disorders. However, the authors contend that after women are shown photos before and after the digital manipulation process, the participants’ perception on their own body will increase significantly, concluding that consumers only enjoy a model’s thinness given that they believe what they see is real (2004).
Thus by choosing a photo with apparent digital manipulation, I choose the words “perfect body” to describe the model to demonstrate the false representation of beauty that the media displays. Additionally, I believe that more voices should be heard regarding body diversity and positivity, and that it is up to the consumers’ actions to steer conversation toward spreading a healthy body image.
Reaves, S., Hitchon, J., Park, S., & Yun, G. (2004). “You Can Never Be Too Thin” – or Can You?: A pilot Study on The Effects of Digital Manipulation of Fashion Models” Body Size, Leg Length and Skin Color. Race, Gender & Class, 11(2), 140-155. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/stable/41675129