For years, people have found faults with Victoria's Secret and their annual fashion show as it continuously objectifies women; not to mention that they only hire thinner models, only representing a small spectrum of all women (Disclaimer: Thin women are still women. This is in no way a means of body shaming anyone).
While the television airing of the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show is approaching, the household lingerie company has been criticized for its portrayal of women — recently more than ever.
In an interview with Vogue to promote the annual fashion show, Victoria's Secret CMO Ed Razek stated that "[the company] attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don't." Not only did he dig at the 68% of plus-sized women in America, but he also decided to dismiss transgender women as well. "It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy."
Razek really isn't helping the case of the company, whose sales rapidly declined in the past year. The only thing the company still has going is this fashion show, and if there's no change in branding soon, Victoria's Secret could ultimately suffer.
Among the many critics against the once iconic lingerie brand, which was founded in 1977, is ThirdLove CEO Heidi Zak. Zak not only penned an incredibly honest open letter to Victoria's Secret. She also decided to purchase a one-page ad in the New York Times to print that very letter. In the letter, Zak goes on to explain why Victoria's Secret's "male-fantasy marketing tactics, un-inclusive sizing and discriminatory culture" is outdated and why it has inspired antithesis brands like her own to grow in the market.
"Your show may be a "fantasy" but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country," penned Zak.
ThirdLove, founded in 2013, is an all-inclusive lingerie brand that caters to all women regardless of their shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
ThirdLove plus size campaign.
"This shouldn't be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm," Zak says of her brand. All women are women. Inclusivity is not a trend, but the standard.
"Your show may be a "fantasy" but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country."
Amid the viral New York Times ad, Victoria's Secret has already replaced their CEO. The ThirdLove letter is not the sole reason for the change; however, it did shed a light on the changes in company culture that to be made to communicate better to the modern consumer. Jan Singer, the current CEO of Victoria's Secret, is being replaced by John Mehas, current President of Tory Burch.
Maybe it's time to let the old ways of exclusivity and the "male-fantasy" die.