Everything Wrong With The Victoria’s Secret Brand

Victoria’s Secret used to be one of the only stores in which women could buy lingerie of good quality, and sales were skyrocketing. However, women are starting to become sick of the brand and its ideals, enough so that it’s showing in declining sales. It seems that the brand has become more about fulfilling men’s fantasies with sexy lingerie than providing comfortable products to all women.

As more and more brands are shifting in advertising methods and becoming body positive and diverse, VS is looking extremely out of touch and outdated. Brands like Aerie, Knix and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty promote inclusivity and demand body diversity as a non-negotiable factor when selling their underwear, bras and lingerie. They choose to celebrate what makes women different and strong, like our stretch marks, curves and scars. VS, on the other hand, advertises women as one thing, one shape, demanding that women fit a fantasy mold.

The VS Fashion Show, yet another controversial aspect of the VS brand, aired on December 2nd and it received its lowest ratings ever. Looking back at the images from the show, you can see that diversity and inclusivity is 100% not something this brand is interested in. So many sizes and shapes were left without any representation on the runway. Further setting themselves behind in the changing market, the brand’s “chief architects” also refused to have a transgender model in their show, stating in a shocking interview with Vogue that the show was supposed to be a fantasy and transgender and plus size individuals didn’t fit this ideal. This interview further reveals a desire to be a number one brand placed over a need to market to more than one kind of woman.

Via @victoriassecret on Instagram

Multiple models who have walked in the show in the past have also spoken out about the pressure they felt to stay skinny and remain in perfect shape for the show. The key to success in this modeling world is to stay a size of 0-2, which can put dangerous pressures on models as they veer into new ways to lose weight. Erin Heatherton, a former Victoria’s Secret model, spoke out about her struggle with depression over not being able to lose “enough weight” to be considered perfect for the show. Her agent always told her she needed to lose more weight and she felt at constant war with her body because she was never able to obtain the desired weight.

Not only is the immense scrutiny on the weight of the VS models dangerous for their health, but it is also promoting a dangerous ideal for women. The same exec mentioned above stated that the reason for not having a plus-size VS show is because, “no one had any interest in it, still don’t.”

In just a sentence, this man managed to place one body type in the attractive, sexy category and the other in the “uninteresting” category; and it’s no secret which is which. From their shows to advertising campaigns on television and social media, the “perfection” the VS brand aligns itself with is teaching women that to be sexy or attractive, needing to fit a specific form. And it is also teaching young adult men that this sexiness is somehow a requirement from women.

But what even is sexy? And how can one brand possibly define it in a singular way?

That’s why brands like Aerie have decided to redefine sexy. With their #AerieReal campaign, the company is refusing to retouch their models and is deciding to let the customers find their own definition of sexy. With models of all shapes, sizes and even ones with physical disabilities; Aerie has completely changed the game and is creating higher expectations for other brands. Just scrolling through their Instagram, you feel inspired by the variety of women throughout the photos and all the empowering #AerieReal stories. Via @aerie on Instagram

28-year-old plus-size (role) model, Iskra Lawrence is the original face of the #AerieReal campaign and continues to be a leader in changing the modeling world. Iskra also works as an ambassador with the National Eating Disorders Association.

Following the VS fashion show, Iskra, along with a number of other celebrities including Halsey who performed at the show this year, threw some major shade at the brand for not being inclusive. And yet, despite such a large amount of backlash, VS seems to still be non-receptive to change, claiming that this backlash is all just skinny-shaming when if fact, it’s not.

This isn’t a skinny-shaming or fat-shaming issue. It’s all about making women feel confident in the body they have right now. Feeling sexy comes from within and when a woman feels comfortable in what she puts on her body, that confidence and sexiness shows. The lingerie market is changing for the better, with more and more companies designing pieces to make all kinds of women feel special and empowered. Brands like VS that continue to misalign their priorities and continue to place an undesirable, unattainable fantasy over making all women feel empowered are actually going to suffer in the long run. VS is likely to actually fall by the wayside as more brands become available that provide empowering choices to ALL kinds of women. Via @knixwear on Instagram

Let’s celebrate everything that makes us unique and beautiful, and expect our clothing brands to do the same. Start supporting brands that support you. Every body is beautiful and every body deserves to be represented.