Opinion: Is the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show an Illusion of Female Empowerment?
By Victoria James--The 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show made its debut the last week of November, stirring up a lot of controversy regarding themes of body image, body positivity, and women empowerment. Much of the controversy was due to Victoria’s Secret featuring models with a specific body type (that being very tall and slim). But while that might not be a realistic or healthy body image for women and girls all over the country to idolize, that does not mean this event is necessarily bad.
The modeling industry is known for showcasing only specific bodies, which has caused body image issues for women of all ages. It creates the idea that in order to be beautiful women must look this specific way, especially when in underwear. However, this is not true, and although Victoria’s Secret has yet to include models of all different body shapes and types, their fashion show spreads another empowering message.
The Victoria’s Secret fashion show allows women all over to celebrate their bodies. Seeing bold, confident women be able to strut down these runways with fierceness and conviction provides the message that women should embrace and love who they are. Looking at the fashion show from this perspective allows women to be empowered rather than feel negative about their body image.
If we stop watching this show in comparison of these women, but rather embrace the message that our bodies are to be loved and celebrated no matter what size, it would allow us to feel confident rather than self-conscious. It is difficult for people with disordered eating or negative body image to watch this and resist these triggers, but what we need to remember is beauty is not a number on the scale, but rather it comes from these confident empowering traits on the inside.
So let’s take this opportunity to celebrate all bodies rather than degrade ourselves in comparison. Even if we do not look a certain way, that does not mean our body is not perfect or to be celebrated. We must embrace our bodies for what they are, and by radiating this body positivity we can help create a world that will showcase women of all shapes and sizes.
By Stephanie Padich--Is the VS fashion show empowering for women in terms of self-love and body-love or is it a total marketing sham, reinforcing themes of body inadequacy with the ultimate aim to sell their brand with a limited definition of what true beauty looks like?
This question can only be answered on an individualized basis and it makes sense as to why people may not surmise a clear answer or deduce having mixed feelings about the event altogether.
The main argument supporting the VS Fashion Show is that the show allows its models to strut their stuff. The pure act of being on a public platform and showcasing your body in its most vulnerable form with an air of confidence can be seen as empowering and inspiring for audience members who lack the self-confidence and body-confidence to embrace their bodies in whatever forms they wish to--in this case, on the stage.
On the other hand, like any other runway show, the overzealous catwalk is the epitome of the modeling profession and just because the models portray themselves as being confident and comfortable in their own skin on stage, we all know that the book is so much more than its cover.
If you ever looked-up accounts of models reflecting on the demands of their cut-throat profession, it’s not uncommon to hear the drastic measures they will take to achieve the so-called ‘perfect’ body for the big days on the runway. And most of the time, these behaviors are accompanied by intense feelings of body inadequacy and not being enough—the exact opposite of self-empowerment and body-love.
From this perspective, the promotion of women empowerment that the VS Fashion Show claims to have, appears to be an illusion, disguised to remind us that what we look like now isn’t enough, since true beauty can only be found through obtaining a body type that represents an extremely small fraction of the world’s population (a body type that is pretty impossible to obtain if it isn’t your natural biological make-up).
On top of that, trying to obtain this impossible body-ideal bestowed on by society through public shows like the VS Fashion Show can serve as a catalyst for disordered eating and eating disorders across women of all ages and backgrounds—a sad, sad truth.
The show is totally void of body-inclusivity and body-diversity, which is what the general public needs to be seeing if we ever want to create a world where people inherently love their bodies and can maintain a confidence that society doesn’t inevitably strip away.