By: Sophie P.
The 20th annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired on December 8th 2015 with 47 “angels” on the runway and singers Ellie Goulding, Selena Gomez, and The Weekend. With an audience of 500 million people in over 160 countries, the “angels” are in no way representative of different racial or ethnic backgrounds around the world; over 80% of their models are white and of European decent. In a world in which only 2% of women describe themselves as “beautiful” (according to a study produced by Dove), brands such as Victoria’s Secret are not helping women boost their self-esteem with their unrealistic, idealized label. Their outdated business strategy is beginning to be replaced by more diversity in companies such as Yeezy, Givenchy and Dove who after debuting their new campaign “Real Women”, in which Dove simply employed regular women who had no affiliation with the fashion industry to pose for their product, experienced a sales increase by 600% in two months (according to TeenVogue.com).
Aside from the underrepresentation of minorities in Victoria’s Secret, reporters and the media are eager to ask offensive and insulting questions to models such as the 31-year-old Polish model Magdalena Frackowiak. While getting her make-up done before the show, a TMZ reporter asked, “what she was most excited about eating after the show”, to which she replied “What? This is stupid. Ask more smart questions, not eating after the show. You make me look like an idiot. It seems like I’m starving myself and I can’t wait for the show to end to eat”, exposing the dark underbelly of the modeling industry, emphasizing the untrue perception of models as stupid and their uber-healthy lifestyles prohibiting them from indulging in their favorite foods.
In conclusion, Victoria’s Secret should seek out more diverse models and de-stigmatize archetypal female beauty standards to increase the self-esteem of their consumers. Not only would Victoria Secret profit from outreach to “plus-sized” models and women of races other than Caucasian, but it would also aid the empowerment of women who don’t match their existing standards. Legislation in countries such as Italy, France, Spain and Israel are also looking to enhance the modeling industry by having models provide medical certificates in order to be hired by modeling agencies to combat eating disorders such as anorexia, affecting over 30,000 people in France alone. It is also required that images modified using computer programs such as Photoshop state that the image had been altered.