Victoria’s Secret

A girlfriend of mine was lucky enough to receive a $10 gift certificate for this lingerie chain. Not that $10 dollars would by her more than a tiny scrap of lace, but that’s neither here nor there. A friend of hers was scandalized that she even considered going in there to spend her GC. How can you, don’t you see the terrible way they portray women, as just eye candy, as if all they are to anyone is T and A? As a woman this friend was extremely offended.

The women that pose for VS are paid top dollar and are totally not exploited. They know exactly what they are doing, and have no problem being shown on billboards and magazines across the globe in a state of undress. How else are VS supposed to sell their product if their models couldn’t be photographed wearing the goods?

My opinion? This friend is extremely jealous of these gorgeous bodies (that are totally airbrushed by the way….duh) and knows that her own bodacious bod can never measure up. She hides that under the guise of being socially aware and “feminist” and probably has not even admitted it to herself.

I would agree with her if the company sold cars, and a male friend was only buying the car because of the hot half naked bimbo that was advertising it. Maybe that could be considered as exploiting women? But then again, the model got paid for it….so, I don’t really know.

What do you think?

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51 responses to “Victoria’s Secret

  1. That’s a toughy. On the one hand, yes the models know what they are doing. But on the other hand VS is perpetuating an image of a perfect body.

    Even worse for exploiting women are the cosmetic and fitness industries – if you have blemishes on your face or aren’t a size 2 – you are ugly and will never be happy – that is the message those ads bring.

    I guess it depends who the exploited – the models agreeing to represent the brand or those of us who fall for the ads while preying on our insecurities.

    • I have a big huge zit on my face and am not a size 2 and I am very happy. But they have nothing to do with each other. which if we raise the daughters right, they will know.

  2. I’m with you on this one. Then again, I also don’t think that women in porn are exploited. I probably need to explain this last sentence – I am sure some women in the porn industry are exploited, but so are women in other (more clothed) industries. So are men in many places too.

    My point is, just because a woman (or man) are naked doesn’t automatically mean they’re exploited.

    My problem with VS and every other glossy brushed-up and manipulated image of women is that indeed they do put these entirely bogus standards in front of our eyes. It can get frustrating at times.

  3. I’ve got a unique perspective on this. my boyfriend is a graphic designer for pink (the vs label). and he draws women’s bodies almost exclusively in his spare time. i look nothing like a vs model or like the women he draws, yet I know he loves every inch of my body and whatever kind of lace I slap on it.

    while I do think vs shows a body type that is relatively unrealistic, so does every other clothing line out there. even plus sized models are typecast and have to be at least 5’8″. we all know those images are unrealistic, and it can be damaging to see them over and over again. bit they’re a reality. a coupon’s a coupon. and if you’ve got $10 to spend on a piece of lace that’ll make you feel sexy, I say utilize it!
    life’s not black and white and this issue isn’t either. somedays you love your body, some days you hate it. vs models probably have things abt their bodies they don’t like either.

    thx for the post. I got here thru Twitter. 🙂

  4. Gimme a break. If I get a 10 dollar gift certificate, I use it, for almost any store. Sometimes people overthink things.

  5. I think they are exploiting everyone, I mean all that money just for little bits of … packaging? 🙂

  6. Never really thought about it. When I was in high school and middle school I used the catalogs for drawings. It wasn’t easy to get someone to pose for me so I would sketch the Victoria’s Secret models. And hey, they make good underwear!

  7. First of all, if it’s free, I’m there! Second of all, I love the stuff at VS, especially the pink line (kudos to your hubby Jeannette)! You made some very good points Hadassah. The models are paid extremely well – this is their profession – it is not exploitation. I will continue to buy the merchandise at victoria’s secret, with or without coupons!

  8. Lady Lock and Load

    What is T and A? Tumah and avairos?

  9. Would you want your daughter being a VS model? Why or why not? Do you think the body image potrayed by VS is healthy one? What percent of the models do you think have anorexia? What kind of role are we creating for young women today? THese are not rhetorical questions: I am really interested in hearing your answersr

    • Would you want your daughter being a VS model?Why or why not?

      If I had a daughter, no I wouldn’t want her to be a VS model. Why? Because as a religious family that kind of way to earn a living is strictly forbidden. Definitely not tzniut.

      Do you think the body image potrayed by VS is healthy one?

      probably not BUT we all know that they are all airbrushed photographs. Besides if the models all looked like 38 year old housewives with 20 extra lbs no one would want to buy the VS underwear.

      What percent of the models do you think have anorexia?

      I haven’t done the research – have you?

      • I know that most teenage girls do not think about the models being airbrushed. Rather, they think about why their bodies do not measure up to those standards.
        If you would not want your child to be a model, why would want it for anyone else.
        Google “model” and “anorexia”

        • Lady Lock and Load

          Teenagers think that way even if they never saw a VS model in their life!

          • Don’t get me wrong, I agree that anorexia is a devastating problem among some young women, and some models. I googled model and anorexia, and the picture that comes up is of a tragic case – I forget the name of the young woman, but I believe she lived in brazil (i could be wrong). However, not all models develop anorexia. I still do not think we need to boycott the products at vs. But I agree that anorexia, and other eating eating disorders, are problems in our society that need to be addressed. A whole other post for Hadassah one day to print perhaps?

            • perhaps….I have wanted to write an article on it for some time….have had no time for research tho

            • It’s actually part of a much bigger issue – Do you outlaw anything that is potentially harmful, actually only potentially harmful as a secondary effect, to some subset of the population?

            • i know this is an old post, but i was just back reading, and came across this. as a recovered anorexic and social worker, i take offense to the assumption that models make people anorexic, it is a mental illness. and while models often have disordered eating habits and may be anorexic. it takes more than seeing a thin model to make a person anorexic. yes it can be used as “thin-spiration” but VS models are way too curvy for that by and large.

    • If I had a daughter and she had the potential, then sure, why not? it’s a good way to make some money during your early years. If I had the potential, I’d do it too (yes, that was a big IF 😉 ).

  10. LLL,

    “T and A” is preferable to the actual meaning. 😉

    Incidentally, if you ever saw the musical “A Chorus Line,” Val was one of the dancers. She did not develop during puberty and when she auditioned for dancing roles, apparently the directors were less impressed with her dancing talent than with her looks. So she took matters in her own hands and, shall we say, found ways to enhance her looks. Everyone knows that the song in the show is nicknamed “T and A,” but officially the song is “Dance: 10, Looks: 3.” 🙂
    A little perspective on this subject…

  11. Ariela, those are good questions, and as many of the comments state, these models are not an achievable goal for many women. Having said that, what one purchases for their self-esteem or enhancing their romantic life is their business, and should remain private.

  12. i don’t think the body image portrayed by vs is unhealthy – the women in the ads seem to have a very positive body image. And i think that most of them are thin, but not anorexic. Truly anorexic women would not be able to model those items. However, I would not want my daughters to be vs models b/c it doesnt fit in with the ortho. lifestyle.

  13. At the risk of raising the ire of the ladies here is a male opinion

    Sure it’s fine. Just look at all the magazines for women; Glamour, In Style, Vogue,… you add to the list. How many of them show real women? They are all model like and air brushed. There may be one now that shows real women.

    As the saying goes “That’s what (most) women want”

    • marsh, you’re right – there are at least two magazines that have more realistic-sized women: Marie Claire has a monthly column called “Big girl in a skinny world” and Glamour also started featuring larger size women

  14. Those models are an example of bad behaviour. Anyone know how I can contact said models? I mean just so I can tell them what I think…no really.

  15. I have to be honest-I think every industry exploits its people- whether it’s physical in your face exploitation or more subtle, like paying people far less than they’re worth.
    But when it comes to the whole Victoria Secrets models being exploited I have to say- they’re truly getting the last laugh- these models, are taking their assets which they’ll only have for a limited number of years before it all starts to sag and getting paid to rock some pretty fabulous lingerie. They’re not having sex for money- they’re getting paid to titillate and personally I see nothing wrong with it. And honestly- how on earth would I actually KNOW what these panties would look like on me, if one of these models wasn’t sporting them?!

  16. i dont think they exploit women but they do further the unnatural look of a woman’s body stereotype.

  17. One of my problems with VS is that the line really caters to an unrealistic ideal of physical being. For example, if you enter one of their stores, and are curvy, too short, or too tall, you will quickly discover that they carry only a very narrow range of sizes. They also measure incorrectly and force women into bras that do not fit correctly.

    I’ll use myself as an example. I wear a 32 DD. I”m 4’11, and 120lbs. I will never be a 36 D. Ever. Yet they claim that that is my size in their range. Their tendency to have sales staff put women in bras in this manner doesn’t do our breasts any favors.

    • when I was at my heaviest I was a 34 DDD – they tried squeezing me into bras that totally didn’t fit. I will agree with you on that.

    • It’s true, even when they do have a bra that comes in my size, it doesn’t offer any support. There bras are best suited for those who “less-endowed” than myself. But still, she should get over herself. No one forced Giselle Bundchen to become a VS model. Besides, they sell lingerie. Am I a little annoyed that I can’t wear those cute lacy bras? And even a little envious of those who can? Of course! But live and let live. That’s my motto. And it also raises an interesting question, with all that “feminism” in the world, when do we get to get to feel “feminine”? I don’t think the do contradict each other. That’s really what VS is selling – a chance for women to feel sexy and feminine. And what woman doesn’t want that?

  18. Hadassah, Have any of these comments made you change your mind about your friends strong feelings about VS? Or as you stated
    “This friend is extremely jealous of these gorgeous bodies (that are totally airbrushed by the way….duh) and knows that her own bodacious bod can never measure up. She hides that under the guise of being socially aware and “feminist” and probably has not even admitted it to herself.”
    BTW Hadassah, with friends like you, who needs enemies.

    • Ariela, I don’t ask that everyone agree with me, after all, we are all individuals and have our own opinions. But there is absolutely no need for snide and immature comments.

      I would just like to add, if you had actually read the post properly you would have understood that this was a friend of a friend, someone that I do not even know.

      Honestly, do you really expect me to change my perceptions just because of a google of models and anorexia? is that all it takes to change your mind?

      • But there is absolutely no need for snide and immature comments.

        I disagree. I think snide and immature comments are important … that’s how we get to know some of the people commenting 🙂

    • Lady Lock and Load

      Ariella, it is obvious that this post touched a raw nerve. It seemed to me that hadassah was a good friend, trying to understand why a friend of that friend thought it wasn’t right to shop at VS. Hopefully that woman does not read “In the Pink” and won’t be insulted. But I don’t think hadassah would write about her unless she was sure that woman would not read about it.

      • Wow, a “good friend” who badmouths the friend of a friend, which is ok as long as she’s sure this friend of a friend doesn’t read her blog? Seriously, this woman writes a blog in her own name. How hard would it be to come across this blog and how hard would it be for this woman to identify herself? It would be one thing if this was an anonymous blog, but Hadassah is constangly marketing herself under HER OWN NAME. Please reread this cockamamie defense of yours and try to make it more logical.

        • Lady Lock and Load

          excuse me? Hadassah didn’t badmouth her, she was just trying to understand why she had such a strong opinion against VS.

      • I wouldn’t be offended if she did read the blog. Maybe she could put me straight on her thinking. My opinion here is just that – an opinion. Total supposition based on not much of anything. Should I have been so judgmental? On reflection – probably not. So I would apologize for my characterization of her if I had the chance. But it is just that – an OPINION.

      • This sounds like badmouthing to me:
        “My opinion? This friend is extremely jealous of these gorgeous bodies (that are totally airbrushed by the way….duh) and knows that her own bodacious bod can never measure up. She hides that under the guise of being socially aware and “feminist” and probably has not even admitted it to herself.”

  19. The new ABC show The Deep End took on this topic last week with a fictionalized Victoria’s Secret-like company involved with a sexual harassment suit from their models. I don’t doubt the point that they tried to make. That even some of the models are moderately embarrassed by what they’re doing to feminism and although they prance around in underwear all day, they’re more than a piece of meat.

  20. Sorry, I don’t think I can make any meaningful contribution here. A) I was never good at numbers, especially if defined by letters; B) i don’t appreciate secrets; C) models remind me of airplane kits; D) i haven’t seen KoD, so why take a chance on making a wrong remark; E) there are no pictures here anyway.

  21. Hadassah, as much as I love you and your blogs I have to disagree with you here. You invited our opinions, so here goes mine.

    It would be nice if the reality was that these vs models or any models for that matter weren’t exploited. But if we take off our rose colored glasses, that we all love to wear, and do some further digging into the industry we may discover that of the thousands and thousands of young woman and girls whose life goals are to be such models, most of them end up being horribly expoited and manipulated – coerced or manipulated into sex, drugs, and a horrible mess of other things in order to get a modeling job. Only a few of the thousands upon thousands actually make it to as a top model and get paid what top models get paid. A woman who makes millions of dollars and achieves such independance is indeed something to aspire to, however, what about the emotional and mental health ramifications for such a woman during the process of climbing this ladder and the ramifications for the thousands who don’t make it? Do you think there is no long lasting effect on her and her family once she has the million dollar bank account. Does the end justify the means?

    There’s an old classic article written by the infamous feminist, Gloria Steinem called “confessions of a playboy bunny”. She actually posed as a playboy bunny to write the article. This was written in the 70’s I think. I can just imagine how much worse things are today. There’s another classic called, “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf that discusses the industry as well. These are old references. I’m sure there are many other more recent articles and books written where women discuss what goes on to make it in this industry. I recently heard an interview with a former news anchor who recently published a book about her experiences with (CBS, ABC not sure which). She discusses the sexual harassment and expoitation she experienced that is simply an accepted part of the industry. I read an article recently that Cindy Crawford’s nanny took pictures of her 10 year old daughter bound and tied up wearing a bikinni. Why would a 10 year old play such a sick game? How could a trusted nanny take and sell such pictures? Where are societies boundries? The result is that we create mentally crippled children and society: anorexia, addictions, sexual abuse, depression and on and on. Lack of self worth and loss of fidelity aren’t even the worst of it.

    Its been many years since I’ve actually researched this topic so I am not as well read or versed but things haven’t changed. In fact, I’m sure its much worse today.

    I don’t think that the answer today would be in boycotting such a powerful industry or store. They’re too powerful and too well ingrained into our culture and value system at large. I believe that the answer lies in the values we teach our children and in protecting and educating our families. The answer lies in recognizing and working on an individual level to keep these rose colored glasses off. Its hard work. It is what I think lies at the crux of our Torah values of modesty and shmiras eneyim – guarding/protecting our eyes, bodies and our essence.

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