It’s Time To Stop Letting Victoria’s Secret Define What Is Beautiful

It’s Time To Stop Letting Victoria’s Secret Define What Is Beautiful

Glorifying and commodifying a specific type of body on a large-scale is damaging to women everywhere.

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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.

Why?

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:

"We attempted to do a television special for plus sizes (in 2000). No one had any interest in it, still don't,"

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.

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50 One-Liners College Girls Swap With Their Roomies As Much As They Swap Clothes

"What would I do without you guys???"
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1. "Can I wear your shirt out tonight?"

2. "Does my hair look greasy?"

3. "We should probably clean tomorrow..."

4. "What should I caption this??"

5. "Is it bad if I text ____ first??"

6. "Should we order pizza?"

7. *Roommate tells an entire story* "Wait, what?"

8. "How is it already 3 AM?"

9. "I need a drink."

10. "McDonalds? McDonalds."

11. "GUESS WHAT JUST HAPPENED."

12. "Okay like, for real, I need to study."

13. "Why is there so much hair on our floor?"

14. "I think I'm broke."

15. "What do I respond to this?"

16. "Let's have a movie night."

17. "Why are we so weird?"

18. "Do you think people will notice if I wear this 2 days in a row?"

19. "That guy is so stupid."

20. "Do I look fat in this?"

21. "Can I borrow your phone charger?

22. "Wanna go to the lib tonight?"

23. "OK, we really need to go to the gym soon."

24. "I kinda want some taco bell."

25. "Let's go out tonight."

26. "I wonder what other people on this floor think of us."

27. "Let's go to the mall."

28. "Can I use your straightener?"

29. "I need coffee."

30. "I'm bored, come back to the room."

31. "Should we go home this weekend?"

32. "We should probably do laundry soon."

33. "Can you see through these pants?"

34. "Sometimes I feel like our room is a frat house..."

35. "Guys I swear I don't like him anymore."

36."Can I borrow a pencil?"

37. "I need to get my life together...."

38. "So who's buying the Uber tonight?"

39. "Let's walk to class together."

40. "Are we really pulling an all-nighter tonight?"

41. "Who's taking out the trash?"

42. "What happened last night?"

43. "Can you help me do my hair?"

44. "What should I wear tonight?"

45. "You're not allowed to talk to him tonight."

46. "OMG, my phone is at 1 percent."

47. "Should we skip class?"

48. "What should we be for Halloween?"

49. "I love our room."

50. "What would I do without you guys???"

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Gabaldon

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Male Body-Positivity Is Something Largely Ignored, It's An Issue We Need To Address

In light of women's body-positive movements, it's important to consider how men are impacted by sociocultural images of attractiveness and masculinity, too.

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When we hear or think about movements that center around body-positivity, we likely think about empowering women to accept and appreciate their bodies in their healthiest state, even if that state isn't in line with the often unattainable standards of beauty represented in the media.

The commodification of the female body in the western world is a concept that extends as far back as the western world itself, and socioculturally, beauty norms still remain a salient concept ingrained in women's psyche's today.

But what about men, too?

While roughly 70% of women ages 18-30 are dissatisfied with their bodies, almost half of men are in the same boat.

So why aren't we talking about them as much?

So while there exists plenty of rhetoric from women about how they dislike their thighs, want abs, want bigger breasts or a smaller nose, what types of rhetoric might guys spout off?

To be more muscular, to have taller stature or a more chiseled face? Washboard abs? The ability to grow facial hair?

While women are plastered with images of Victoria's Secret Angels as a body goal to aspire to, what might be the comparable body archetype for men?

I went on a brief investigation to survey some of my guy friends and explored which types of male bodies were commodified as the most attractive.

And it seems that the Calvin Klein model fit the criteria.

Calvin Klein has notoriously produced sexy advertisements for decades, and the men the company uses to brand its underwear involves incredibly ripped models and actors.

The level of sex appeal that plays into their advertisements and brand image not only conveys that the model presented meets a high standard of male attractiveness but is also the most attractive to women as well.

So, guys who've been socially conditioned throughout their lives to believe body archetypes such as the Calvin Klein model are the pinnacle to aspire to are likely to be more dissatisfied with their bodies if they don't conform to the standard they feel is set for them.

So what type of behaviors might be observed in guys who wish to attain to that standard?

Working out, specific dieting habits and taking supplements are common behaviors men may engage in order to attain more muscular physiques. On the extreme end, growth hormone supplementation or disordered eating behaviors may also work their way into many men's routines.

It should be noted that working out, eating healthily and taking a multivitamin are all healthy lifestyle factors. Doing these activities to make your body and mind feel good is an integral part of one's personal mental and physical well-being.

However, extreme levels of activity that risk one harming their body are unhealthy behaviors. Further, certain men may feel pressured or forced into certain "healthy" regimes regardless of if they feel healthy since they perceive the end result will improve their appearance.

The "fitspo" rage that's taken social media by storm may play some role in affecting male dietary and gym habits. Messages that one has to work out irrespective of their physical state (such as illness) and that certain diets are "guaranteed" to cut fat can promote a man to engage in habits that might not work for his specific body.


Many social media fitness influencers also promote the use of substances such as pre-workout, additional supplements, teas and specific protein powders meant to increase energy, remove bloat, to "bulk" or burn more calories.

Certain items such as pre-workout, when sourced reputably, and protein powder can provide a boost of energy or recovery to one's workouts. For certain types of pre-workout and supplements, however, it's important to understand the unregulated nature of the supplement market.

The FDA is not required to vet and qualify the claims that supplement manufacturers make about their products, meaning that you're not guaranteed to receive what the supplement tells you, or that it will work.

The loose regulations mean that even supplements that claim they're "scientifically tested" aren't guaranteed to have been studied in a lab or evaluated according to FDA standards of safety. The term "natural" used with supplements is often a term used to attempt to describe holistic products, even if there isn't a set of standards to define what "natural" is and where it can be used.

Worst case scenario, the pressure for men use supplements can lead to potential overuse or exposure to unsafe supplements that could potentially have negative health consequences.

In fact, a few years ago, two soldiers died of heart attacks after consuming supplements prior to a fitness test.

And no guy's life is worth losing over his perceived level of fitness and appearance.

So just how our society is learning to teach women that they have value beyond if their bodies adhere to a notion of beauty, we should be doing the same for men.

Shifting from a culture of extreme beauty habits and instead emphasizing fitness, health and wellness as tools of a healthy body and not aides to one appearance are steps we need to focus on to improving body positivity in both genders. Otherwise, the mental and physical repercussions of each sex trying to attain an ideal not healthy for them can put their lives at risk.

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