Ed Razek Reveals Victoria’s Secret

Throughout my high school years, my friends and I treated The Victoria’s Secret fashion show premiere almost like a holiday tradition. I vividly remember staring at the TV in awe every time I watched Adriana Lima, one of their most popular models, strut down the runway. I also remember thinking to myself, there is no way in hell you will ever look like that, even if you eat only grapefruit and tic-tacs for the rest of your life.

Even then, I still vowed I would accomplish some sort of unrealistic diet I made up in my head in order to look more like an angel. Inevitably, I failed every time. It is no secret that these models create unrealistic body expectations for women, especially young girls. Victoria’s Secret models typify the ideal body type for women in America.

 

While these models stand over 5 ft 8 inches, with a 34-inch bust, 24-inch waist, and 34-inch hips, the average American woman stands 5 ft 4 inches with a waist measurement of 35 inches. In the 23 years since the first fashion show, they have failed to cast a single plus-sized model. How is it that, in American culture, we let a small percentage of women represent the beauty and body ideals for the rest of the population?

Serving as the largest lingerie retailer in the US, Victoria’s Secret models have not only failed to represent a wide range of body types, but they have also failed to represent the transgender community as a whole.

 

In a recent, controversial interview with Vogue, Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, explains why the company has never cast a transgender model by claiming, “I don’t think we can be all things to all customers. It is a specialty business; it isn’t a department store.”

In response, I have to wonder: why is a 70-year old man choosing what models are cast in an annual fashion show featuring only women? A man gets to decide what defines ideal beauty for women?

Razek confessed that Victoria’s Secret is a company that “chooses their models based on our ideal body-type formed by media in order to limit their market.”  

Razek believes, through his casting choices, he is creating a fantasy world for young girls; a perfect body-type for them to long for as they watch the ideal woman strut down the runway, creating negative feelings around the development of their body image.

 

We should not let young girls fantasize over a world that embodies ideals of discrimination when forming their own body image. Unrealistic body expectations, created by media culture, are not specialized to a specific group of women.

Not all 800 million viewers of the annual fashion show stand over 5 ft 8 inches with a 24-inch waste. I wish I could travel back in time to yell at 17 year-old me, and tell myself that my body image should not be formed based on the opinions of an old man. I can promise you are not going to feel heavenly after starving yourself for a week in order to achieve angel status. 

 

If you watched the heavily awaited fashion show that aired on December 2nd, think about the ideals you are supporting, ideals that discriminate against rather than support women. The Victoria’s Secret fashion show should celebrate all women, who take on many different shapes and sizes.