Victoria's Secret is a retailer that thrives off of exclusion and maintains notions of beauty and attractiveness that are no longer as welcomed in the 21st century.
Frankly, capitalism will likely wipe out the brand when people stop buying their lingerie due to lack of support for the company.
That's the beauty of capitalism.
In fact, VS stock, which is now down 40% indicates that this type of change is coming to the lingerie marketplace, where women now value companies that promote bodily diversity and don't shame certain kinds of bodies for not adhering to the beauty standard set by Victoria's Secret.
While Victoria's Secret has increased its diversity throughout the years regarding ethnic backgrounds, the body type represented in the brand is incredibly homogenous.
The models in the show are all runway models outside of the Victoria's Secret show, meaning that they adhere to standard agency requirements. These requirements dictate a female model be at least 5'8 in height, and while weight is not often specified, models are usually between 105-120 pounds.
Any brief exploration into the models on the site will show that their measurements are around 31-34 inches in the bust, with a 22-26 inch waist and 34-36 inch hips. These measurements correspond to sizes 0-2, which are often used as sample sizes for the runway.
This article is not meant to attack their signature model, "Angels." They are beautiful women who fit the needs of the fashion industry they earn a living in. However, they are not the ONLY type of beautiful women to exist.
Further, this article is not meant to denigrate naturally thin individuals. I am a size 0 myself, so many people consider me a "thin" individual.
People might fail to understand why I disapprove of Victoria's Secret as a brand. After all, they cater to individuals with my body type, so what is there for me to complain about?
I don't fit their height requirement, meaning that I could never be one of their esteemed Angels. And you could ask yourself, "so why does that matter?"
The vast majority of women in the United States could never come close to achieving the bodily standards observed in Victoria's Angels that the brand emphasizes.
And which it's important for companies to cater to individual markets to ensure corporate diversity, Victoria's Secret remains a lingerie giant and has a massive ability in dictating national standards of beauty.
They also sell sizes beyond the XS or S displayed in the fashion show, yet fail to include bodies in the show that would fit their M, L, or XL sizes they sell in stores.
The problem with influence and lack representation coupled with their marketing strategy dictates to women that the Angel is the pinnacle of beauty. Therefore by wearing their lingerie, you get to supposedly feel like an Angel in the Victoria's Secret fantasy.
And yet, you don't.
Because even if you get sucked into their marketing scheme and buy their bras and underwear expecting to feel better about yourself, if you're not absolutely secure and completely love with your body already, you'll just recognize that you will never fit the Angel standard that you feel is expected of you to be considered beautiful.
And that when you look in the mirror, you not looking like an Angel makes you feel like a fraud.
Victoria's Secret further utilizes the term "sexy" often, meaning that wearing their lingerie is supposed to make you attractive and appealing to the opposite sex.
So not only is their brand about idealizing specific types of bodies but commodifying these particular bodies as objects of prime attractiveness to the opposite sex.
There is a consequence of presenting one body type as the most beautiful and categorizing it as incredibly sexy. For women, they risk feeling that a guy seeing them in lingerie will think of them as unattractive since they don't adhere to the epitomized beauty standard so endlessly praised in the media.
Victoria's Secret emphasizes that their show is a "fantasy." This notion of a fantasy can imply that it's not real. However, we as consumers know those models are still real people. And even if they're bronzed, made-up and thrust out onto the runway in perfect lighting, the bodies walking that runway wouldn't be there if Victoria's Secret didn't already consider them perfect before the show.
Further, Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of Creative Services of L Brands (the company that owns Victoria's Secret) responded to a question concerning bodily diversity in this manner:
His quote is prime evidence that the minds behind Victoria's Secret do not consider bodies outside their norms interesting, nor beautiful enough to be in the spotlight.
In the eyes of Victoria's Secret, we women who don't fit the Angel model are not valued. We are not, and never will be, as attractive or as sexy since we are not, and cannot become, Angels.
To them, we are just women who chase their notions of beauty and sexiness to try and fulfill our desires to feel that way about ourselves. We remain consumers thinking that someday, maybe we will get close to or achieve that ideal and that wearing their lingerie is somehow a way to get there.
And since the vast majority of women in the United States feel insecure about their bodies, Victoria's Secret capitalizes on women's insecurities.
Brands such as ThirdLove and Savage X Fenty have made efforts to turn lingerie from devices of body standards and external validation to objects worn by women of all backgrounds for support, self-confidence, and comfortability. They've also worked to move the notion of sexiness away from something determined by the opposite sex to instead a feeling one experiences from empowering their own female sexuality.
All in all, you get to decide what companies you support, where to put your money and who you think makes the nicest lingerie.
I, along with many other women, have decided I don't want to spend my money at Victoria's Secret anymore. I've been on too long of a journey of bodily hate and self-destruction, and I feel that it is time for me to move on and surround myself in a social movement that doesn't make me feel less of a woman.
Maybe one day, Victoria's Secret will do someone to cater to the millions of women upturning their noses at their company. And if not, they may have to settle as a smaller, specialty retailer that emphasizes clothing for smaller women.
Regardless, a change in marketing could benefit their sales and stock.
Otherwise, a lot of us women are going to go elsewhere and work to redefine what it means to be beautiful.