A Body for Every Body or Just The Lucky Few?

 

In case your Facebook newsfeed wasn’t littered with this news a few weeks ago, the new Victoria’s Secret advert was recently released sporting super thin models and the slogan “The Perfect Body.” While this isn’t entirely unexpected of Victoria’s Secret given the homogenous body type displayed in all of their adverts, people were still pretty bummed.

However, after Lee University students Frances Black, Gabriella Kountourides, and Laura Ferris launched a petition (Change.org) protesting the Victoria’s Secret “Perfect Body” campaign, the angels finally shifted their message. The advert that once infuriated many now reads “A Body for Every Body” and contains the sub tag, “Perfect Fit. Perfect Comfort. Perfectly Soft.”

Women in support of the Change.org petition were angered by the “body shaming” incentive behind the original advert. People tweeted and instagrammed comments including “stop bodyshaming young women!” and “Victoria’s Secret models DO NOT represent the average woman,” all with the hashtag #iamperfect. Now people, including the students who launched the petition, are saying that the changed wording on the advert reflects a much healthier message, and is more inclusive.

However, the models featured on the updated advert are the same models pictured in the original. While the new slogan may state that Victoria’s Secret lingerie offers “A Body for Every Body,” only one very distinct body type is portrayed. The many angry tweeters were not just protesting the slogan, but also the supposedly “perfect” body image projected behind it. For those who believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, the picture on this advert certainly discredits the words typed out in front of it.

Sure, these models all have different physical features as well as different ethnicities and races (although it seems to be heavily dominated by white women), but they share one very obvious commonality: the shape and size of their bodies.

I’m not trying to shame this particular body type, because I understand that most super tall and thin women were naturally born with their body types, just as I was born with mine. I’m also not saying that I don’t aspire to the body type that Victoria’s Secret adverts portray, because lets be honest, they look pretty darn good. I’m only human after all. All I’m saying is that no matter how many miles my beloved dual arc trainer takes me, and no matter how many reps I do on that abductor/adductor machine at the gym, I will never get the glorified thigh gap, and Victoria’s Secret should stop making me feel badly about that.

I am a proud owner of many Victoria’s Secret items, which obviously means that people above a size 2 do indeed shop there. However, you would never know this when you look at a poster that says “A Body for Every Body” and then see 9 versions of the exact same tall, super thin, size 0 body in the picture. I, just like every other woman, deserve to like my body. And I do like my body. It is healthy, strong, and in shape and I don’t see a need to change it. In fact, if someone with my body type was pictured in that advert, I would still want to buy the lingerie! It’s a shame that the people behind the Victoria’s Secret campaigns feel differently.

I commend Victoria’s Secret for taking this huge step towards a healthier campaign and a better image for young girls to acknowledge, but they still have a very far way to go.

In an especially inspiring response to the VS message, Dear Kate, another underwear company, restaged the image from the original advert but replaced the models with women of various shapes and sizes. As possibly the most diverse country in the world with so many anti-feminist forces working against women’s best interests, Dear Kate’s altered advert portrays the empowering message that women should work together to strive towards. The Dear Kate advert is a true and beautiful reflection of women in this country and across the globe.