This time last year sixty unnecessarily attractive women were flouncing around a catwalk in New York in their pants, with thousands of adoring and slightly jealous fans glaring at their eight abs and thighs which refused to wobble. Fast forward twelve months, and on the anniversary of the infamous Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion show, the secret is no more as for only the second time in twenty-four years, the brand has cancelled its flagship catwalk parade. Pass the pigs and blankets, the Christmas diet is off.
After the show last year, the brand faced criticism from body positive activists and trans-rights groups after the creative director of VS, Ed Razek, stated that there is no room in the show for plus-size or transgender models due to it being ‘a fantasy’ and using the excuse that they tried in 2000 to use plus-size models and ‘No-one had an interest’. I mean, if you’re going to go off the results of something you tried eight years ago, you’re not going to manage to flourish in the fast pace society we currently live in, to put it bluntly VS- get with the times. These off-the cuff comments from the guy in charge of VS’s lucrative image confirmed what many had been sharing their concern about for years- that Victoria Secret was out of touch with the real world. But then again, isn’t that the point?
Victoria’s Secret has always been a fantasy; An unquestionable concept of perfection with the Angels gargantuas levels of beauty setting standards no every-day Joanne-Bloggs could ever reach. I remember growing up and idolising these women in their underwear, desperate for an inch of their beauty and a foot of their success. There were always questions around the body image the models were portraying to young girls, but I would flippantly put it down to jealously, an ‘I can’t do that so she shouldn’t be able to do it either’ attitude so many women seem to carry. But as the years go by and society shifts towards representation and visibility of all beauty ideals, I’ve began to question the jealous attitude I was so convinced surrounded the Angels, and have started to wonder if we’re all just a bit sick of being told we’re not good enough.
Beautiful women are everywhere. They’re in the street, they’re in the magazines, they’re on the tele and they’re down the local Co-Op. But there was no display on earth of such goddess-like females than The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It became more about the models, the figures and their looks than the
clothes teeny bits of fabric that adorned them. Social media would be scattered with tweets from ‘normal’ women sharing their misery at eating their dinner that night, shamed by the pangs for chocolate that protruded out their stomach. Confessional: I am one of these women, guilty of always tweeting about how shit the VS show made me feel. I mean if you’re a girl, you’re basically expected to share how inferior these women make you as if it’s a right of passage into Bridget Jones’ Diary. Across the land women would tune in to watch these glamazon’s stomp down the runway, their body shimmer glistening off their perfectly pert 32c boobs. Outfit after outfit that no-one is paying attention too, model after model that everyone can’t take their eyes off from. The Angels make no secret of the intense training and dieting they have to embark on to walk in the shows, yet every female viewer sitting on the sofa will still mutter ‘How do they look like that?!’ , As if we haven’t seen a daily update on the gram’ of the models squatting in the rain. They’re committed, I’ll sure as hell give them that.
To walk in The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is a dream for many, and a reality for a very elite few. I truly acknowledge all the dedication and hard work those girls put themselves through to be in the indescribable shape that they are in when they step out on that runway. They’re athletes, they’re supermodels, they’re bloody super women. But insisting the brand, and specifically the show must stay a fantasy, just might be what kills them off. We’re experiencing a shift in society where women all over are awakening to their sexuality and choosing to own their bodies and all their flaws, and we want brands which invite us to celebrate that. Is there a space for The Victoria’s Secret Angels in this new wave of feminism society? I hope so. We should all be able to engage in body positivity and female ownership of ourselves as sexual beings, but a little variation of what those bodies look like wouldn’t go a miss either.