On December 5th, millions of viewers tuned in to watch one of the world’s most celebrated fashion shows, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The buzz and international hype this one fashion show receives is like no other. Major hats off to everyone involved; models, designers (yes, I actually watch for the fashion), BIG TIME musicians, and ENTIRE production team that make the show a huge success year after year. I find it all very inspiring!
With that being said, I can’t help but notice some of the feedback on social media in regards to the show. For the most part, it goes three ways. There is praise and admiration for the show, women expressing they feel less good about themselves after watching, or controversial comments labeling these as “not real” women who shouldn’t be celebrated. Because my wholehearted and sincere business mission statement is to empower women, I have some insight I’d like to share in regards to a show that seems to be having the opposite effect on some women.
1- KEEP IN MIND
The Victoria’s Secret angels are NOT, nor are they claiming to be, representing the norm. Their job is to sell a fantasy, which is the genius behind the Victoria’s Secret brand. They dangle this fantasy in front of our eyes and before we know it, we’re spending $20 on lacey dental floss because we want a piece of it. It’s part of their marketing strategy and they do it SO well. But, I repeat, these women are NOT representing the norm. These models are genetically blessed people taking their strengths and talents and turning them into a profession. With that comes insane discipline. These women (for the most part … I’m sure there are lucky exceptions) work out very hard every day because it’s their job to look a certain way. At casting for the show they are in a room full of strangers and cameras in their underwear, getting critiqued and judged. Regardless of how amazing anyone looks this is a very vulnerable thing to do and legit nightmare status for some. The few and lucky that get cast then train even harder for months leading up to the show. They eat SUPER healthy and all the little things us “regular” people get to enjoy such as highly caloric lattes, a glass of wine, or CARBS, is something they can’t or it might cost them their job (or even worse, an extra “jiggle-y” moment on TV that will get scrutinized maybe more so than their non “jiggle-y” bodies).
We all have our strengths and God given talents that make us unique. Theirs just happen to be physical traits. Do you remember the Christmas commercial Victoria’s Secret released last year with the models singing? I think that was plenty affirmation that these women are indeed flawed. Singing is not their profession (can I get an Amen!). They are models. As a fashion designer, I’m glad these women exist because I need them to model my clothes, just as much as I need non-models to wear them. They’re doing a job I can’t and that’s how life works. How boring would it be if everyone had the same dreams, talents, and looks?
Don’t let this make you insecure (reminding myself here too). Instead, focus on the areas of your life where you are meant to shine and work to excel there. Be the best you. The best you might not be on the runway in sexy lingerie and wings, but that doesn’t make you any less fierce.
2- GIRL POWER
Something amazing happens when women look at each other as team mates and not competition. That applies in all areas of life. There will always be a woman excelling in something you are not and that is OK. I’m surrounded by fellow moms who are on top of volunteering at their kids’ schools and meal planning way more than I care to be. I am just happy to stay afloat in that department. But I look at these women as team mates kicking butt in some areas, while I represent in others they will never venture into.
Do these models look so amazing they make us second-guess our own beauty being enough sometimes? Probably, BUT, we are in control of these feelings. Lets switch it around and just take it as inspiration to hit the gym harder and eat healthier. Do this NOT in an attempt to beat them (or even join them) but in an attempt to be the best YOU. Lets motivate and empower each other because like Beyoncé said, “Who run the world? Girls!”
3- REAL vs. HEALTHY
One of the biggest issues people seem to have with this show is that the women are “unhealthy”. Can we really make that assumption though? I would like to bring something up in the topic of health.
There seems to be a size revolution gaining momentum in the fashion Industry where plus size women are being called real and healthy. Now let me start out by saying I have people near and dear to my heart who are plus size. This is NOT meant to bash overweight women even a little bit. I think ALL women deserve to feel fierce, fabulous, and empowered in their clothing at ANY size. I feel however, that to label plus size as the poster image of what is real and healthy is no better than to say that stick skinny models are real and healthy. We need to simply encourage health and balance without sticking our own image of what we think that looks like to the title. It varies by individual. People don’t get heart attacks, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure from being thin, but they do from being overweight. To celebrate plus size in a way that says it is healthier or more real than a size 2 or 4 is in my opinion seeing someone’s weakness as a business opportunity instead of genuinely caring for the individual. YES, plus size women are beautiful, and YES, they deserve fashionable clothing. It thrills me to see there are designers doing a fabulous job targeting that demographic. But I don’t think because I wear a size 0-2 I am less of a real woman than a size 14. I’ve been pregnant and given birth 4 times to 3 beautiful children and an angel, and nursed a total of 4 years. That’s some real woman stuff right there! I make it a point however, between the juggling act of motherhood, running my business, and life, to hit the gym and strive to be healthy. Everyone has a story behind their body image and all I am saying is we should stop making assumptions that the ones that make us feel less good about ourselves are not healthy. Instead, lets do what we need to do to love ourselves enough so that no gorgeous model (or woman) can bring us down by simply existing, and you never feel the urge to bring her down.
So remember ladies, KEEP IN MIND these women are not meant to represent the norm, promote GIRL POWER, and always strive to be the BEST and healthiest YOU. Admire others for what they do better than you, and let them be inspired by you for what you do best. We all earn our wings in one area or another.
*Sharing and feedback is always welcome! To contact the author, e-mail: SO@SalwaOwens.com.