At the beginning of March, nearly 5,000 major retail brands announced store closures. Among that list was Victoria's Secret, which plans on closing 53 stores this year. The company claims that the cause of closures are because of the brand becoming outdated. Victoria's Secret became outdated the minute they created unrealistic body image expectations for women.
When women walk into Victoria's Secret stores, the first thing they see are flawless models blown up on big poster boards. When I see Victoria Secret ads, the first thing I think about is how I'll never look like the models if I buy the bras they're wearing. They're not only posing provocatively but also have a seemingly perfect shape. I also think about who they're trying to target with those ads and it's almost as if the ads are aimed more at men than women. The brand's ads don't seem like their target is young teenage girls, but rather older women.
This is hurting their brand even more because one of the most successful parts of Victoria's Secret is its clothing brand Pink, which is worn by teenage girls. The Pink bras are also extremely over-padded, therefore adding to the notion that you have to have a good chest to be pretty.
As a young tween, I always wanted to own a Victoria's Secret bra. I saw girls who were grades above me talking about how they bought their first wired and push-up bras. I envied them and wanted to know what it felt like to wear a "real bra" with delicate lacing and pretty patterns on it. The first wired-bra I owned was from Victoria's Secret, and I remember thinking about how cool it was to finally own one. This notion sounds ridiculous, but at that time it felt like that was what would make me look and feel pretty. In my mind, I thought that if I had a bra from Victoria's Secret or Pink I would look like the supermodels in the pictures in the stores.
What I didn't realize was that those girls were unnaturally skinny and incredibly photoshopped. That the size that I have in Victoria's Secret is not the size I have anywhere else.
In 2014, American Eagle's Aerie decided to do something different than other lingerie stores. They launched the #AerieReal campaign which uses untouched models instead of airbrushed ones. The campaign features women of all races and sizes wearing different types of lingerie. Unlike Victoria's Secret, Aerie's models are posed in a variety of different poses instead of the same provocative pose. As soon as I saw this campaign, I decided to stop shopping at Victoria's Secret. Even as a nineteen-year-old woman I still have body image issues, and the last thing I need is to buy from a company that has that all wrong.
In 2012, at an attempt to create a body positive campaign, Victoria's Secret created a "Love your body" campaign. The only thing missing from Victoria's Secret's campaign was the variety of sizes in the models. All of the models thought they were of different skin colors, still looked the same size. Dove, on the other hand, created a campaign that showed women of sizes from 2-10.
Victoria Secret's brand has become outdated because of what the idea that it's trying to sell — the idea that you have to be unnaturally skinny to look good in pair of underwear and a bra.
The women in the ads not only create a bad image for the company but also created negative body image issues in young girls.
That in order to be considered beautiful, in shape and dare I say it "sexy," you have to have a flat stomach and big breasts (not that the bras at Victoria's Secret aren't unnaturally padded). Even as I am older, I still get envious of the models in those store windows in the mall.
I can't imagine what tween girls feel like walking by the store windows. As one of the major and most influential lingerie bras, it would be suspected that Victoria's Secret understood the definition of body positivity, but they really don't.
Being body positive is loving your body for how it's made. It means that you love every curve, fat roll, and cellulite dimple because that's how you were designed to be.
If Victoria Secret would embrace that everyBODY is actually beautiful, then their stores wouldn't be closing down.