Why Victoria's Secret Has My Panties in a Bunch

“Is your body strong? Is it sexy? Is it bold and flirty?” Victoria's Secret cheekily asks from its home page, luring viewers in with the invitation “Meet Our Newest Bodies – Now with 7 sexy styles there really is a Body for Every Body.”

Um, what exactly ARE those seven body types – Skinny, Slight, Bony, Emaciated, Skeletal, Thread-like and Not Chubby? The Seven Dwarfs have a wider range of silhouettes.

Honestly, my first thought upon seeing the new Victoria's Secret “Love Your Body” campaign was, “Is this some kind of sick joke?” I mean, holy crap. If these are the seven body types into which women are supposed to fit, the government had better outlaw refrigerators, stoves, utensils and all methods of food preparation and start filtering crack into the general water supply. The models are the most extreme-looking VS cover girls I’ve ever seen; they make Marisa Miller look like she should be hosting Dance Your Ass Off. Five of the girls have legs that barely look substantial enough to warrant pants. The one in the middle, Lindsay Ellingston, is standing in some sort of modified Tree Pose that I believe was meant to accentuate the spare sinew of her inner thigh (VS Body Type: Auschwitz?) but instead just makes it look like she’s so weak from malnutrition that she’s unable to lift her foot any higher on her leg.

Look, if each of these models just happens to naturally resemble a walking stick with boobs, then shame on me for being a jealous, catty girl-hater who sits around and eats burgers smothered in cream cheese and Crisco all day long. Yes, some ladies are genetically blessed and their set point hovers around Size 2, 36D. But please, Victoria’s Secret, don’t select seven women with perhaps THE most unattainable figures in the universe, dress them in push-up bras and modified boy shorts and tell us they represent the range of body types out there. And don’t present us with video clips of models discussing what they love about their bodies for us to peruse while we debate cheeky vs cheekiest. That  sounds about as appealing as finishing up a marathon and quenching my thirst with sewer liquid. I need to hear Alessandra Ambrosio tell me her favorite body parts like I need  a hole in my head and a vat of lemon juice to pour in it.

When StyleList.com asked readers what they thought of the campaign, one woman wrote, “This actually makes me want to start making myself barf and live on 300 calories a day.” Maybe the PR people behind VS’s Love Your Body Campaign (whom I suspect, but cannot prove, may be the same people who started up Maxim magazine) think they’re somehow capitalizing on the body image movement, or picking up where Dove’s “Real Women” campaign left off, but they’re wrong. The images are even more alienating than the normal VS catalog that manages to worm its way into my mailbox 267 days of the year. (in their defense, I do like their cozy winter flannel pajamas and lace-trimmed thongs.) But couldn’t they at least have included ONE model who was bigger than my 19-month-old niece? I’m not saying they had to feature Beth Ditto or anything, but maybe someone who more closely resembled the curvier (though still ED-inducing) VS models of the 90s?

I suspect airbrushing may have also been at play (we all know Victoria’s real secret is Adobe Photoshop). If they can give the navel-free-since-birth Karolina Kurkova a belly button, I’m sure no other detail like thigh flesh goes unpunished.

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