What’s a “perfect body”?

Victoria’s Secret campaign degrades women

Story by Meghan Hosely, Copy Editor

Women, on average, have 13 negative thoughts about their bodies daily, Glamour found in a survey.

The media has notoriously been contributing to these negative thoughts for decades now, advertising for products with stick-thin models. You would think by 2014, maybe we would make progress recognizing different body types, but then again, some things may never change.

Earlier this fall, Victoria’s Secret came out with an ad to promote their collection of bras. Ten women are posing in different styles of bras with the caption saying, “The perfect ‘body.’”

Did I mention these models are the infamous Victoria’s Secret Angels? Meaning, they all have mile-long legs, toned stomachs, and approximately zero curves.

Before I get ahead of myself, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these body types. There’s nothing wrong with any body type, which is the problem here. By Victoria’s Secret showing 10 models with the text, “The perfect ‘body,’” in front of them, the message is clear: no other body type is as good as the type of the models.

Victoria’s Secret completely discredited what I thought they stood for. To me, anyone could wear their products and feel good about themselves, but since they used the magic word, “perfect,” it potentially makes women feel uncomfortable in their own skin.

It’s sad to me that even though the media has been called out on objectifying women, this is still a problem. Obviously, nothing is going to change overnight; I get that.

However, Victoria’s Secret did take baby steps towards improvement. United Kingdom residents Frances Black, Gabriella Kountourides and Laura Ferris started a change.org petition, stating they would like Victoria’s Secret to “apologise and take responsibility for the unhealthy and damaging messages that their ‘Perfect Body’ campaign sends…”

As of earlier this week, the petition had 33,002 supporters, and has passed.

Because of this petition, Victoria’s Secret did, in fact, change their advertisement. The women are still the same, however the text changed to, “A body for every body.”

I’m not sure where exactly I stand on the new ad. I applaud Victoria’s Secret for listening to women standing up for themselves. It shows they care about their stakeholders. However, it seemed to me like a cheap way to get out of this advertising mess.

If Victoria’s Secret really wanted to make a statement showing they truly cared, new models would’ve been shown. The “perfect” models should have been replaced with models of different body types.

Maybe they didn’t go that route because most, if not all of the Angels are relatively the same body type, and the Angels are the faces of Victoria’s Secret. But then again, maybe it’s time to start realizing that in order to appeal to a larger crowd, different-sized models should be used.

Bottom line is, even with the updated ad, Victoria’s Secret has a long way to go. I get strategic advertising is important, however, it might be time to start advertising strategically and thoughtfully in order to appeal to more than one audience.