Response to an Article Against Asian Victoria's Secret Angels

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which began in 1990, is the most watched fashion show on television worldwide, airing in 185 countries. After the show aired last month, an article was soon published on Huffington Post concerning the absence of Victoria’s Secret Angels of Asian descent: There Has Never Been an Asian Victoria's Secret Angel -- And Maybe That's A Good Thing. When I saw this post being shared on Facebook, it immediately caught my attention. While the author does have some good points, saying that Asian women should not become Victoria’s Secret Angels is more oppressive than it is helpful.

In her article, Barry writes that “strutting the catwalk in tight underwear, towering high-heels, and eight-foot plastic wings” would be “more crippling than empowering” to Asian women. It is true that Asian women have a history of being fetishized and objectified. In the past, media has portrayed Asian women as sexual, submissive objects with the sole purpose of pleasing white men. But telling Asian women that they can't wear certain things because they'll be fetishized is like telling any woman that she can't wear revealing clothes because she'll get sexually assaulted. In some way or another, women of all ethnicities have been fetishized or objectified, so why only target Asian women?

Barry also brings up the fact that there are very few Asian-American women in high positions, whether they be in government or businesses. While fighting for better representation in that area is important, putting women in “traditional corridors of power” isn’t the only way to bring women up. Some women feel empowered by taking high positions of power while others feel empowered by wearing revealing clothes, and it’s no one else’s right to say which method of empowerment is correct.

Lastly, Barry argues that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is geared towards pleasing a predominantly male audience, but the truth is that an overwhelming majority of its viewers are female. After all, why would a women’s apparel and lingerie franchise focus on obtaining a male audience when its consumers are predominantly female? If anything, having Asian Victoria’s Secret Angels tells young Asian viewers that Asian women can be beautiful too. As a society, we are currently working towards expanding the beauty standard so that it is not just blonde hair, blue eyes, white skin, and we need to make sure that Asian women are included in the process.

Victoria’s Secret, your show airs worldwide in a world where more than half of the population is Asian. Explain to all those young Asian girls out there why there are no pretty Angels that look like them.