The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show made it’s debut in 1995. At just twenty-one years old, I have seen the craze of the VS Angels every single year of my existence. I grew up in a world where perfect went from size zero to the perfect hourglass shape of Kim K in a matter of years. I grew up in a world where the people I looked up to had surgery to be their own idea of beautiful. My generation, among others, grew up comparing ourselves to the standards of mass media
There are ups and downs of a technologically advanced world. The media can be poisonous to the minds of men and women of all ages and all sizes. Negative body image and unrealistic standards are toxic side effects to the overexposure of “perfection” in our society.
Many brands and organizations have made conscious efforts toward progressive media standards. Models are now all shapes and sizes, the amount of over-editing and retouching is decreasing, and inclusive language and media is on the rise.
Unfortunately, there seems to be one day a year where these efforts don’t matter. It seems that on the day the VS Fashion Show airs, negative mindsets skyrocket.
With the start of the VS Fashion show also launches a plethora of comments across the internet resembling, “Goodbye self-esteem, hello treadmill.”
Side note: Before I continue, I want to set something straight— I absolutely love Victoria’s Secret and VSPINK. I love the show and I love the company. I met Grace Elizabeth (pictured to the left) over the summer, and she was incredibly sweet, welcoming, and down-to-earth. I am in no way downing or disrespecting the efforts of the models who worked hard to earn their wings. I understand that the Victoria’s Secret has an image they want to uphold. I simply want to talk about how this specific image may affect the mindset of your everyday guy or gal.
Out of curiosity, I launched a survey to find out how people felt about the VS fashion show. I asked how they felt about the show, how it affected their body image, and if they had anything they wanted to say about it. I gave them the option to remain anonymous or to be credited for their input. Some of the responses were as follows:
“I think it is a celebration of art and beauty.”
“Some people are naturally thin, some people are naturally thick. I have no doubt VS models have worked so hard to become the successful models we see today. I think the VS Fashion Show could be an incredible platform to showcase all body types. Playing devil's advocate, I think there could be criticism for yet another corporation getting 'too political'. However, I think it is important to showcase healthy body images. Plain and simple. I think it is important to show young girls, tweens, and twenty-somethings that fitting in a XS bikini bottom can be a positive thing, but so can fitting in a size L. I also think it is important for young boys and men to see that not all women look like a VS model, but regardless should treat every woman and healthy body type with respect and acceptance. Ideal body images look so different in so many cultures and countries. Today, social media and television are the main platforms for people to learn worldwide. In my opinion, I think promoting healthy body images and diversity instead of a universal look/body type can be a more successful execution for the VS Fashion Show.” ~Gina Franciosi
“I think it encourages healthy women.”
“I understand that these women don’t starve themselves to look like that (most of the time), because they’re 6+ feet tall, and their job is essentially to work out all the time. In return, that creates the thought process that everyone needs to work out all the time to be 'skinny'. Something I have learned over time is that no body is the same. Even the models have different body types. However, having a larger representation of all body types can lessen the psychological damage and encourage a positive body image. Healthy and happy should be the portrayed images in the media, not just physical attributes.” ~Mackenzie Kairys
“I personally love the show. I think it's meant to promote a fantasy and is really well done. I watch every year. I respect the models for working so hard to get their bodies to look like that, so it personally doesn't affect me. I do see why it may affect others. I think including a larger variety of women in the show would be amazing but it needs to be done the right way, they would need to incorporate all the different body types together rather than have a separate section of the show."
“I think they have done a good job of promoting the angels working out. By showing followers that the models train hard, it can help people believe that they weren’t born with bodies like that. It’s reassuring. I think it would be nice to have different model body sizes because there are women of all sizes and shapes that wear the clothes. However, I don’t believe that Victoria Secret would be in favor of altering their trademark of angels, their ‘hottest’ models.”
It was nice to recieve a variety of opinions. As I expected, there were comments all across the spectrum about the show and it's affects.
In regards to the VS workout routine, there is a bit of controversy. Though they do show the Angels working out, one of them admitted to an irregular habit. Adriana Lima, in an interview with The Telegraph, admitted to cutting out solid foods and working out twice a day for nine days before the show.
Granted, she probably felt awful during this time and probably worked with a nutritionist to get back on a normal, solid diet immediately after the show. Adriana also admitted to not consuming anything, not even water, twelve hours before the show.
According to Mike Roussell, PhD, many athletes go through the same routine. He states, "There are better ways to get the same results. But for the amount of time she was doing it, to get the look she wanted, it's not detrimental to her health in the long-run."
This shows that, no, VS Angels do not have an average body type. In fact, I don't think there is an average body type anymore. Every human body is so unique and that alone is amazing to me. The point is, the brand broadcasts bodies that undergo days of miserable dieting and exercise instead of a multitude of different bodies undergoing a multitude of different versions of a healthy lifestyle.
Victoria’s Secret isn’t just selling lingerie with this show. They are selling a mindset, a lifestyle, and an unrealistic body standard for the average human. Are they beautiful? Of course they are. The Angles work extremely hard for their career every single day. For that, among many other reasons, I whole-heartedly respect them. On the other hand, beautiful women come in every size. I think that is something to be recognized in the future of this program.
In the meantime, I ask you not to focus solely on the change that needs to be made in the media. Instead, I ask you to also focus on yourself. Focus on telling yourself you are enough regardless of what you see on Instagram, a fashion magazine, or a fashion show. Focus on telling yourself that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, TOO. You do not need Angel wings to fly.
Some of my loyal readers may be wondering why I'm writing something so different. I was asked to respond to a news-worthy event related to my blog topic for a recent assignment. With a fashion blog, I had a small selection until this topic hit me. I couldn't shy away from all of the negative tweets I saw the night of the show, so I decided to tackle the subject firsthand. I hope this post reminds you that it is so important to reassure people of their worth regardless of image in modern society. With the constant pressure of perfection surrounding us, it's important to remember what really matters in this world. What really matters isn't a pants size or a number of likes on a photo—it's who and what you love. It's who and what make you happy in this world that keeps you going.
all photos were unlicensed photos found on google