#VSFashionShow – On the culture of Victoria’s Secret

    Victoria's Secret models alessandara ambrosio victoria's secret fashion show
    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Victoria's Secret models Doutzen Kroes (L) Allessandra Ambrosio (R) walks the runway during the 2014 VS Show on December 2, 2014 in London, England. - Copyright: fashionstock / 123RF Stock Photo

    The 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is just weeks away.

    From what we can tell lots of people are very excited for the upcoming #VSFashionShow.

    For sure Kendall Jenner is beyond excited. If we’re recalling correctly, Kendall once said it was her dream to model for Victoria’s Secret. Well, her dream is about to come true. She will be making her Victoria’s Secret Show debut this year, sharing the stage with seasoned veterans Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio, as well as Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel and Lily Aldridge.

    For those of you who plan to watch, the show will air on CBS at 10PM on December 8th 2015.

    We’ve never actually seen a single Victoria’s Secret fashion show before, and we don’t have any plans to watch the 2015 show. But it’s not because we have specific objections to the show.

    Some people think Victoria’s Secret as a brand is exploitative and demeaning to women. We’re not sure what to think to be completely honest. While we do see how some people might arrive at the conclusion that Victoria’s secret is anything but empowering to women (apparently this is their stated mission–to empower women), we also can’t help but think this is one of those things that can just be left alone. Not everything that is not ideal necessarily needs to be built up into a big enough issue to where battles become necessary to be fought.

    We’re all for the kind of female empowerment that helps girls value themselves for who they are and not for how they look and how many admiring eyes they can attract. But we’re not convinced that there’s anything so extremely wrong with young women enjoying being young women. Courting the attentions of the opposite sex is a natural and normal part of being human. And one of the ways that some women do this is by the way they dress. Victoria’s Secret appeals to a demographic of women who are at that stage of life where everything is about sex and having sex appeal. They want to look sexy. They want to feel sexy. This does not mean they think that their only purpose in life is to attract men and that their only worth is in how they look. We’re confident that today’s young women are much smarter than they get credit for being. And they can enjoy all the Victoria’s Secret sexiness and fun without compromising their dignity, lowering their self-worth and setting women back centuries.

    Victoria's Secret models alessandara ambrosio victoria's secret fashion show
    LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Victoria’s Secret models Doutzen Kroes (L) Allessandra Ambrosio (R) walks the runway during the 2014 VS Show on December 2, 2014 in London, England. – Copyright: fashionstock / 123RF Stock Photo

    1Is Victoria’s Secret exploitative and are the brand’s marketing tools (fashion shows, catalogs, commercials etc) demeaning to women?

    Today we came across an article titled “Victoria’s Dirty Little Secret” on the blog Beauty Redefined. We’re definitely on board with any movement that aims to redefine beauty such that future generations of women will no longer value themselves based on how flawless their skin looks, how much they weigh, their bra size, how their butt is shaped, how curvy they are, how long and lustrous their hair is, how perfectly their facial features fit the accepted standards of beauty, how many men want to take them to bed and so on.

    The article in question seemed to have as its aim to expose Victoria’s Secret for their hypocrisy in claiming that their brand and their products are about female empowerment when in fact it’s all about catering to men’s desires. And we can certainly see their point. But we still think this is one of those things that isn’t necessary to make a fuss about. The authors of the article may well be correct in their claims as to the true intentions of Victoria’s Secret. But at the end of the day, women have a choice to buy the company’s products or not. And you can’t really blame a company for the success of their marketing efforts can you? It’s not as if their target market are a bunch of gullible children.

    By the time a girl purchases her first Victoria’s Secret bra and panties for the primary purpose of entertaining her boyfriend, she has already been exposed to alternate points of view. She knows she doesn’t have to buy and wear the thong and the pasties if she doesn’t want to, but she chooses to buy and wear them because she wants to. It’s not the fault of Victoria’s Secret and it’s not the fault of the guys who will get to enjoy seeing her in her sexy lingerie. And when all is said and done, if she’s happy, and if the guy is happy what’s the problem?

    Yes the company that is Victoria’s Secret makes a lot of money off of women entirely because they have become so well and thoroughly established as the intimates brand to wear if you’re young and sexy. And part of their success comes from marketing their brand in a manner that makes it seem like they’re all about helping women to grow confident in their sex appeal and to own their power over the men who would objectify them. But we don’t think their success comes strictly as a result of convincing women of their message that wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie is empowering. We think women are smart enough to know the difference. But they buy the lingerie anyway because they want to be sexy. And what’s really so wrong with that?

    2Does the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show encourage the objectification of women?

    Like we’ve said, we’ve never watched one of the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows; but we’ve seen enough and read enough to be aware that it’s a very sexy event with lots of T & A on display.

    It has always seemed to be a bit much to us; but as we were browsing through stock photos from past events we noticed that the models look like they’re having so much fun. It occurred to us that if the models who are wearing the sexy lingerie and parading all up and down while people are watching them–if they are having a blast, and if the audience is having a blast, and if the millions of people watching on television are enjoying the show, how much of a bad thing can it be? People are just having a little fun. We don’t always have to take ourselves so seriously all the time. For some people the show is about leering at and objectifying women, yes; but we want to be believe that for the majority of people in the audience and at home watching on television it’s about the show and the entertainment. It’s about having fun and that’s a good thing. Let women make their own choices. Invest the energy into battling the real problems, and then maybe everything else will fall into place.

    By the way, if you’re planning to watch the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and you’re wondering what models will be doing the show this year, we got this list from WWD (source)

    • Adriana Lima
    • Alessandra Ambrosio
    • Behati Prinsloo
    • Candice Swanepoel
    • Lily Aldridge
    • Elsa Hosk
    • Jac Jagaciak
    • Jasmine Tookes
    • Kate Grigorieva
    • Lais Ribeiro
    • Martha Hunt
    • Romee Strijd
    • Sara Sampaio
    • Stella Maxwell
    • Taylor Hill
    • Rachel Hilbert
    • Barbara Fialho
    • Cindy Bruna
    • Constance Jablonski
    • Daniela Braga
    • Devon Windsor
    • Gracie Carvalho
    • Izabel Goulart
    • Jacquelyn Jablonski
    • Joan Smalls
    • Josephine Skriver
    • Lily Donaldson
    • Magdalena Frackowiak
    • Maria Borges
    • Maud Welzen
    • Ming Xi
    • Shanina Shaik
    • Sui He
    • Yumi Lambert
    • Bridget Malcolm
    • Gigi Hadid
    • Kendall Jenner
    • Leila Nda
    • Leomie Anderson
    • Megan Puleri
    • Pauline Hoarau
    • Sanne Vloet
    • Valery Kaufman
    • Vita Sidorkina


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