The Real VS Fashion Show After Party

Alright everyone, it’s that time of the year again when the Victoria’s Secret angels fall from heaven and strut down the runway for the annual broadcast of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. As viewers everywhere watch the annual parade — strictly limited to portraying a monotonous standard of beauty — many women can’t help feeling like they’re just not measuring up to society’s distorted definition of beauty. Despite the fact that human beings have a tendency to compare themselves to others, as automatically as any other human emotion, his irresistible need seems to be a part of our fabric as women. Often times, these comparisons leave us deeply wounded and the world around us urges us on.

In the dazzling world of the media and entertainment industry, money is everything. Advertisers will do anything they can to sell their product and make a profit, often emphasizing sexuality and the importance of physical attractiveness. The shameful truth is that advertisers purposely normalize unrealistically thin bodies in order to create an unattainable desire that can drive product consumption. Today’s media objectifies and devalues women and girls, it perpetuates the idea that women are objects for male entertainment and things to be sold to, rather than people to be loved, respected and valued for more than our youth, beauty and sexuality. Thanks to this kind of media culture, we as girls have been taught to see our value as a measure of how our bodies look — a central tenant of all Victoria’s Secret advertising.

 

 

What’s worse is the pervasive acceptance of this unrealistic body type. Thin-ideal media highlights the belief that being slim is both good and desirable, even if it is to a level that is potentially damaging to a person’s health. If you have ever looked up unglamourized accounts of models unmasking the demands of their cut-throat profession, it’s not uncommon to hear the drastic measures they will take to achieve their so-called ‘perfect’ body. And most of the time, these unhealthy measures are accompanied by intense feelings of body inadequacy and worthlessness. It’s not exactly shocking that many women develop dysfunctional relationships with food and unhealthy weight-control habits, seeing as the ideal women seek to emulate is unattainable — and not to mention unhealthy — for most. Research has also found that strict dieting to achieve a certain figure can play a key role in triggering eating disorders. Women who were already dissatisfied with their bodies showed more dieting, anxiety and bulimic symptoms after prolonged exposure to fashion and advertising images.

A quick search with the #VSFashionShow hashtag on Twitter will instantly give you hundreds of tweets by girls tearing themselves down over the way they look. These posts and the attitudes they represent are a serious problem. Less than 50 models walk the Victoria’s Secret runway while millions of girls watch at home and feel like they need to justify their eating habits (you know, that thing that’s necessary for human survival) and make jokes about how they don’t look like any of the models. Isn’t that telling us something? This constant exposure to female-oriented advertisements influence girls to become self-conscious about their bodies and to obsess over their physical appearance as a measure of their worth. Where women see flaws in themselves, large companies are seeing dollar signs.

On a similar note, the show is totally void of body-inclusivity and body-diversity which is what the general public needs to be seeing if we ever want to create a world where people inherently love their bodies and can maintain a confidence that society doesn’t inevitably strip away. Of course, in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of successful competitors such as Aerie, Victoria’s Secret has laughed a few embarrassingly pathetic body-positive campaigns in an attempt to target a large and diverse group of unrepresented women. After-all, beauty comes in many shades, the most important of which is green.

I’m tired of women being sold the idea that there’s only one ideal body type. I’m over my friends thinking they’re not beautiful because they don’t have the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel. The VS Fashion Show is nothing more than a scantily veiled marketing sham — an unhealthy display of the worst of society, the negative effects of which keep us from personal growth and embracing our greatest abilities to share with others. We need to create a world in which people are liberated from self-hatred, value their beauty and identity, and use their energy and intellect to make positive changes in their own lives.

Until next year, everyone. 

 

Photos courtesy of Émilie Joanette.

Sources: Cover