Victoria’s Secret is manipulating women not empowering them

Broadcasting a show of women wearing lingerie with a concert in the background was still relevant for the label after #MeToo. But it had no choice but to cancel the 2019 extravaganza to reinvent itself.

Design by @womenandflowers (IG)

Representation who?

While Fashion Week now books models from different ethnicities, a few designers are paving the way for a better representation of plus-size bodies and diversity in terms of age. Christian Siriano, for instance, is the only one hiring models from a size 6 to 22. The LGBTQ+ community is also seeing the beginning of a shift with French Vogue photographing trans model Valentina Sampaio on its March 2017 cover.

Playing the woke card

Even if Rihanna’s show made waves, it was way less than the billion viewers the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show attracts. In terms of turnover, the brand is the current leader of the lingerie market amid a few closing stores. On Instagram, nearly 63 million people are daily following their certified account.

“They are selling an ideal version that women are supposed to seek to enhance their attractiveness to the opposite sex.”

Marketing charm

Just like many other brands before them, VS is trying to use feminism to appear as woke and politically involved as possible. For their client Joanna, they are guilty of femvertising; in other words, publicity hidden behind a gloss of hypothetical feminist conviction. “Apart from what they say, are they doing anything for feminism? Are they involved with the fight against domestic violence? I’m not sure of that. They are just selling us a politically involved discourse to hide the fact that their models starve themselves to work for VS. I’m tired of this use of feminism as a trend when it is just for the money”.

“It’s not the marketing place to decide who is good looking or not, it’s men! If one day the majority of men choose older, wrinkled or curvier ladies over slender young girls with perfect skin, it would be the end of the anti-ageing or slimming cosmetic industry!”

By men, for men

Three-quarters of the board of directors of L Brands are men, just as their new CEO John Mehas. Thus the band can only picture seduction from a male heterosexual point of view. The company itself was created by Roy Raymond, who, after having accompanied his wife to a lingerie shop in 1977 thought that there were too many robes and flowery nylon nightgowns to his taste. He wanted more risqué undergarments for his pleasure. Therefore, every other form of seduction, including the LGBTQ+ community, is eclipsed.

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Dan Hastings

A freelance journalist who has written on fat activism, inclusivity and new representations for Marie Claire, I WEIGH, Glamour, Slate and The Huffington Post UK