Behind the Scenes

Is Victoria’s Secret outdated?

Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 with a mission to change the fashion of the time for women to wear simple and ‘pragmatic’ underwear, and to leave anything more elaborate for special occasions like honeymoons and anniversaries. One of the objectives was originally to ensure that every woman, upon entering a store, would feel comfortable in her own skin and would get the assistance she needs. It is questionable whether this is the case anymore…

“the message the brand sends to women is that it is their responsibility to look sexy for men”

Many controversies surround the brand, suggesting that perhaps it is not as modern as it would like to be. It has often been said that the message the brand sends to women is that it is their responsibility to look sexy for men, and that is why they should purchase Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie. However, something that was widely accepted in the late 1970s can easily be considered scandalous in 2018.

The “Perfect Body” campaign of 2014 that presented their ‘angels’ as ideal standards of what a body “should” look like, has been widely criticised for sending a damaging message to women. A petition for Victoria’s Secret to apologise and change their wording for this campaign gained over 30,000 signatures, and represents the way that the company’s insensitivity can impact a huge amount of people. They were also involved in cultural appropriation scandals in both 2012 and 2016.

The New York Times said that “the company’s fashion show this month, complete with skinny models, push-up bras, thongs and strappy stilettos, was a near carbon copy of the one it first mounted in 1995, albeit with more feathers, sequins and wings”. The brand refuses to change its perception on what it considers attractive, and just like any other fashion brand, what body types are “in” has changed dramatically since the 1990s. The world was different for women in the 90s, and especially for minorities such as the LGBTQ+ community.

“the show should not include transgender models, “because the show is a fantasy,””

To remain relevant and loved by the public, Victoria’s Secret has had to adjust to today’s liberal standards, and that includes diversity amongst their models. The words of Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, stated earlier this month that the show should not include transgender models, “because the show is a fantasy,” and therefore has no room for any other models other than those that fit the company’s idea of a perfect body. The statement of apology released via Twitter seemed like a patch-up job, sounding rather insincere. He conveniently stated that transgender models had come to castings, but “like many others, they didn’t make it.”

Statistics support the view that Victoria’s Secret is swiftly losing popularity: the company’s stock decreased by 41% in 2018, and a consumer study by Wells Fargo concluded that 68% of respondents enjoyed Victoria’s Secret less than before, and 60% felt the brand appeared forced or fake.

“In 2018, women have one another’s backs, and if Victoria’s Secret doesn’t make inclusivity their priority, they risk to perish”

In 2018, women do not want to be told that the only reason they buy lingerie is to impress men, and they also do not feel good about themselves if their body is said to be “perfect” to someone’s detriment. In 2018, women have one another’s backs, and if Victoria’s Secret doesn’t make inclusivity their priority, they risk to perish whilst other, more relevant and liberal-thinking brands rise.

Kateryna Vynohradska

Featured and article image courtesy of @victoriassecret on Instagram.

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