From promoting a body mass index so low that all 12 ribs are showing to advancing a plus-size campaign that teaches women it’s ok to be unhealthy, Victoria’s Secret has culturally defined what it means to look like a woman. Although VS has re-defined that image countless times, the company couldn’t have gotten it more wrong than their most recent campaign.
The lingerie brand just announced its “more inclusive” rebrand campaign that hopes to “positively impact the lives of women” through new products. Heading the initiative are “changemakers” who make up the VS Collective, including U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, model Adut Akech, and plus-sized model Paloma Elsesser. VS’ first openly transgender model, Valentina Sampaio — who respected the female body so much that he morphed his own to look like one — will also represent the brand.
The VS Collective will aim to empower women through “a series of collaborations, business partnerships and cause-related initiatives.” Many of the new VS representatives have echoed similar sentiments: Rapinoe is “thrilled to be creating a space that sees the true spectrum of ALL women,” and Chopra Jones said she’s excited to shape “the evolution and future success of a heritage brand like Victoria’s Secret.”
Victoria’s Secret has never supported ALL women — what makes the company think they’ll be able to start now?
The brand is best known for its annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, where 60 “Victoria’s Secret Angels” wear skimpy lingerie and large 30-pound Angel wings. VS built a brand from having the skinniest, most “fit” and “sexy” women walk down its runway, but the promoted body standard is unsustainable: models must be five foot nine, have a waist of 24 inches or less, and a body fat percentage lower than 18. The average adult woman has a waist size of 38.2 inches and a body fat percentage of 29.6.
Even the Angels can’t sustain the harsh standards: Seasoned Angel Adriana Lima doesn’t eat solid food nine days before the show, many models abstain from drinking water, and starvation diets are expected and encouraged. How
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