Victoria Secret and Body Representation

I had seen this pic circulating around too. So when I saw Tyra Banks had posted it on Instagram I was anxious to see what her opinion was.

No, that’s wrong. I was anxious to see just how easy, breezy, and beautifully she would treat the mess out of  Victoria Secret and the direction it has taken since the 90’s/early 2000’s.

Then I read her caption.

Errrrr….

Maybe it was presumptuous of me to expect her to say something stronger, but I really thought I’d read a more direct message. Even if she only praised the tallnskinny direction, it’s at least a cemented opinion.

She went down the middle of the road.

Let me clarify before y’all blow up my email.

Every woman deserves to be told she is beautiful. I’ve said this before in previous posts.

The problem that I have with Victoria Secret is that it only tells the public about one type of beautiful. And when women and men continue to see the same image of beauty – that one image becomes the norm. And once it becomes the norm it becomes the expectation. And once it’s the expectation – women start killing themselves – physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially – to become the embodiment.

That is the reason why I believe Victoria Secret is wrong for the models they choose.

If every woman is beautiful, why isn’t every woman shown?
If every woman is beautiful, why is only one type of woman predominantly desired?
If every woman is beautiful, why do practically all women (including women who fit the desired model description) struggle with self esteem and body image?

I’m not saying that Victoria Secret directors, editors, photographers, etc all sit down and scheme about ways to destroy women, but they definitely aren’t using their position to help women.

And why should they?! They are a business. They are in this for money. And the money is being generated by us because we buy into them. We desire those images. We expect those images. And unless we desire and expect other images, we’ll keep getting the same ones.

That’s why I was hoping for a stronger statement from a woman who I’ve looked up to since the 90’s myself. The woman who stood in front of a live audience on national TV and yelled “Kiss my fat ass!”

Tyra knows all the dirty laundry about this business, and I respect her for not tiptoeing around it. She has uplifted and encouraged all women to love themselves.

But this caption never addressed the most important issue. The issue that has kept this split picture going around the internet.

Victoria Secret is not promoting the beauty of all women. They are promoting one image. An image that might even be the exaggeration of itself. Who’s to say how many of these models are actually under their healthy weight range? Who’s to say how many of these models have women in their family that have even more bumps and curves than the VS models in the 90’s? Who’s to say how many of these models struggle with their own image when they look in the mirror?

My heart goes out to these models.

But I’m not afraid to say that my heart does not go out them even nearly as much as other women.

Why? Because as much as these models may struggle, they go home with a big fat check and a million comments all over the internet about how beautiful they are. I’m not saying that these things heal the wounds, but it’s still more than the average woman is getting.

I know I said every woman deserves to be told she’s beautiful, but I’m gonna add this:

Every woman deserves to be objectified every once in a while.

A little objectification every once in a while never hurt anybody.

Example:

Last Halloween I died laughing in a booth at Chipotle while some drunk-mess-of-a-guy went back and forth on how good my rack was and how good my friend’s legs were.

Did this mega-boost my self esteem? No. Did I rush to give this guy my number? No. Did I flip my hair a little? Yup.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Lemme get back to the point.

I don’t blame Tyra for saying what she did. She was right in every word. Maybe she didn’t want to step on VS’s toes, maybe she didn’t want anyone to twist her words. I just can’t help but be a little disappointed by the blanket comment.

Both of these women – on the right and on the left – are beautiful.

But I can’t truly relate with either one.

The problem doesn’t sit on the model’s shoulders, it sits in the wallets of Victoria Secret execs.

But the solution sits with us. The VS execs won’t change anything until we demand a change.

But we can’t demand a change until we change what we want to see.

So I guess the problem sits with us too.

Love yourself. Love your sister.

This is,
MAB
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