There’s nothing wrong with lingerie, but there are so many things wrong with the way the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show presents objectification as sexual freedom in order to make a profit.
Victoria’s Secret is a business and a business’ purpose is to make money. Victoria’s Secret, like many companies in the beauty industry, has found a new way to make money in which they pretend to care about women. I sometimes hear the argument that the fashion show celebrates women’s sexuality, something that hasn’t happened often in the past. The latter part is true.
Throughout history, women have often been shamed for being sexual beings, but there’s been much progress made on that front since second-wave feminism happened in the 60s and 70s. On a more important note, there’s a difference between sexuality and sexual objectification. Nothing about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, at its core, shares a message that women hold any agency. Instead, these women dress up in beautiful million dollar bras, train for months to be as thin as possible and strut on stage for everyone to look at them. That’s right. Victoria’s Secret’s secret is that women are still objects to be looked at rather than people who do things.
Even the concept of the angels reverts back to the antiquated desire for women to be pure rather than autonomous, as Jill Filipovic, lawyer and political and gender writer for Cosmopolitan and The Guardian, said. As these incredibly beautiful women strut for show, the label of angel gently reminds the audience that these women are still “good girls.” Filipovic argues that this does the exact opposite of embracing female sexuality.
But the worst part of the show? The females that model are one body type. There’s nothing wrong with being thin, but Victoria’s Secret, like the majority of the modeling industry, ignores the existence of other body types which can be so damaging to the self-esteem of young girls. What’s worse is that now the models are sharing their workout routines — which by the way, are equal to that of an athlete — and somehow that means that it’s okay to only represent one body type as long as they work really hard at it. But if you can’t afford the Velashape III treatments that People magazine reported the models receive, or if your body just isn’t set up to look that way, it still sucks that your body type isn’t considered desirable.