Is the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Still Relevant in 2018?

If you couldn't already tell from your Instagram feed, Victoria's Secret held its annual fashion show last Thursday in New York City. The event featured famous models such as the Hadid sisters, Kendall Jenner, Adriana Lima, and Elsa Hosk. Newcomer models included Winnie Harlow and Kelsey Merritt, who have been recognized for bringing diversity to the show.

While I do applaud Victoria's Secret for including Harlow and Merritt, I still believe that the show has lots to do in terms of including a diverse cast and promoting women of all different body types. Growing up in the twenty-first century, Victoria's Secret dictated our society's body standards and projected a very certain image of what was considered beautiful: skinny, mostly white, and tall. Although these models are gorgeous and do indeed work hard for their bodies, it is quite saddening to be told that only their bodies are sexy and desirable. Millions of young women watch the VS Fashion Show, follow VS models on Instagram, and look up to these figures, and, when we communicate that only one type of body is acceptable and worthy of wearing Victoria's Secret, it causes young women to be ashamed of their own bodies. Every year, whenever the VS Fashion Show posts filled my Instagram feed, it would cause me to go into a spiral of shame and start to feel uncomfortable in my own skin, as the show would leave me feeling as if my body were not worthy.

In 2018, however, body positivity and healthy body images are starting to have a stronger presence in the public sphere. Companies like Aerie use models of all different body types to appeal to a wider audience and demonstrate how all women and body types are beautiful. In addition, Ashley Graham, who became the first plus-sized model to brace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, famously threw backlash at the VS Fashion Show with an Instagram post of herself wearing angel wings in 2017. Actions like these critique the structures in our society that continue to promote one body type and progress our society's beauty standards.

In a time in which we encourage body diversity and denounce corporations and figures that think do not, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show should make an effort to include more curvy models and women of color. Most American women do not fit into the standards that the VS Fashion Show displays, and thus the show does draw appeal to women if they feel that their identities and body types aren't projected. If the show wants to continue to have relevance in our society and a positive impact among the lives of young women, it should embrace every women's body rather than excluding the definition of beauty to one specific figure. All bodies are beautiful, and women should continue to empower both themselves and one another in 2018 and beyond.