As my husband and I were flipping through channels last Tuesday night trying to catch an entertaining show to watch, we came upon something that instantly grabbed our attention: The 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The multi-millionaire production aired on CBS, one of the most broadcasted and viewed channels on television. I had seen it advertised all over commercials, repeatedly sharing the air date and time, network, and glimpses of what was to come.
But, in case you missed it on television because you didn’t get the chance to sit down and watch, you had to have seen it ALL over the Internet. It was an all day affair leading up to the actual show. As soon as I awoke that morning, my newsfeed was bombarded with sneak peeks, predictions, and trends from last year. Later in the afternoon, people were casting their votes for favorite Angel, and shortly following, pictures capturing viewing parties were being shared all over social media. As it seemed like everyone was counting down the minutes to this VS Fashion Show, I was resisting the entire thing.
In theory, I understand the purpose and mission of the pageant. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is meant to be for pure entertainment and enjoyment; not something to aspire to. It is an opportunity to celebrate feminism, bodies, pop culture, and pageantry. I get that. However, I cannot seem to get past how awful the entire thing makes me feel about myself–and my body.
It is literally an exhibit of the most perfect, ideal, “flawless,” basically naked–dressed in the sexiest, most seductive multi-million dollar lingerie–women. This body type is so perfect, yet so unattainable.
Here I am, preaching and blogging about feminism, and to love your body for what it is. But, I was still staring at the television, angry, feeling inadequate, self-conscious…wondering if I was the only one. I argue everyday that society perceives beauty and attractiveness in a one-dimensional manner; where beauty is defined based on thinness, body weight, and height. The model for this image is, in fact, incongruent with reality. But, unfortunately, Victoria’s Secret, the largest American retailer for women’s lingerie, earning $6.12 billion in just one year, contrasted my mission of broadening the definition of beauty. Instead, VS amplified the societal “ideal” body type that is so detrimental to women throughout the world.
Clearly, I am not alone. The same day my newsfeed piled up with VS Fashion Show pictures, hashtags, and highlights, so did this image at the top of this article. And, not only did I look at it, laugh out loud in complete harmony, but I noticed that this particular post had already received 56.5K likes. That is one large number of “likes” for a picture and quote that truly are “worth a thousand words.”
Maybe it’s because I have reached my greatest height of 5’1″, and no matter how hard I ever try, I will never have the height necessary to be considered “model-like.” Maybe it’s because no matter how much weight I have lost in the past, my inner thighs still touch! Or maybe it’s because I am able to now appreciate the value of kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness over any extrinsic appearance out there. Thankfully, my experience in overcoming an eating disorder has taught me that there is far more to beauty than just appearance.
Whatever the reason may be, I have a new challenge and quest for the future: In next year’s Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show, I wish to see the pageant consist of models with a wide array of body types, more styles of attraction and appeal to celebrate, and more variety on display. This will, ultimately, expand the perception of beauty, and, in turn, create a healthier, more confident female universe. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes–so let’s promote this actualization!