Photo Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP
Some women get their dieting inspiration from Weight Watchers meetings; or appointments with a hypnotist; or a dress they hope to zipper again some day. Others will just watch tonight's annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS at 10 p.m. Nothing will make you put down that carton of Haagen Dazs like seeing Miranda Kerr in thigh-high boots and skivvies.
It seems cruel to broadcast the show now, as we head into the season of eggnog cheesecake and peppermint fudge cookies. But the truth is, watching the VSFS isn't really an effective dieting tool anyway. If you at all resemble the vast majority of human beings, you'd have to be clinically delusional to think you'll ever look like Heidi Klum in transparent lingerie (three weeks after giving birth, no less). As a friend recently put it, "My body is so far from what these models are that they have no relevance to me. They're like cartoons."
Fashion shows are generally aimed at women, but judging by the prevalence of beer commercials, the VSFS appears to have men in mind, too. (Women still watch in greater numbers than men, but for a fashion show, the level of male viewership is impressive.)
Naturally, there's no shortage of opinions about this yearly event. Some women are disgusted by the sexual objectification of women. Others break out the popcorn and watch with friends, like they would on Oscar night. But however you feel about it, you may happen to find yourself in front of the TV--with your husband/boyfriend--when the catwalk strutting begins.
When you're faced with dozens of impossibly perfect models in pink feathers, or teeny, tiny, sci-fi-inspired bras, will you keep the channel where it is? When Izabel Goulart traverses the giant V stage, in breast-bouncing step with The Black Eyed Peas, will you glance furtively at your man, gauging his reaction? Or will you watch together happily?
I asked several of my friends what they would do. Three of them had no problem with their husbands watching. (One thanked me for reminding her it was on.) Three others were okay with it--with some caveats. "If we watched it together, fine," said one pal. "But if he had to cancel plans to watch it, then I would say it was a problem." Another friend offered a more tepid yes. "I don't think I'd mind if he watched it," she said. "But I'd be curious to know why he'd want to. It seems a little voyeuristic for men." Another cited the ogling aspect, too. She wasn't bothered by the perfect bodies, or the ridiculous beauty expectations that society puts on women. But she had a real problem with sexualizing people who aren't your actual sexual partner. "It's not healthy for marriages, relationships or mental states," she said.
My favorite response to the question? "Honestly, I'd be a little worried if my husband sat down to watch a Victoria's Secret fashion show, or any fashion show on TV," said one friend. "I'm sure there's some sport he'd much rather be watching. As gorgeous as those models are, I know it wouldn't hold his attention for very long." Take that, Heidi Klum.
Will you and your man watch the models take the runway? Chime in below!