Victorias-Angels-Blog-POst

No One Wants to Know Victoria’s Secrets

November 8, 2018, Vogue.co.uk publish onto their site an interview given by writer Nicole Phelps with the chief marketing officer of L Brands (the parent company of Victoria’s Secrets, or VS), Ed Razek, and the executive vice president of VS Public Relations, Monica Mitro.

The wide-ranging interview primarily focused on the brands’ relevance in an increasingly inclusive lingerie market that’s heralded by Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty. Seemingly unthreatened by such competition, Razek explained their choices for not including a more varied body-type in their selection of models:

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?”

Razek: “No. No, I don’t think we should”.

“Well, why not?”

Razek: “Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”

Reminiscent of Kim Kardashian’s People Magazine cover, the article almost broke the Internet. Bloggers, activists, influencers and just about anyone with a Twitter account were furious and staged a virtual riot. Razek’s PR team went into a meltdown and he was forced to publicly apologise – an action that leads back to the interview, in which Razek explained his thinking behind making certain business decisions with the self-directed question, “And did we include them to shut up a reporter?”

The VS show itself didn’t air until December 8, 2018, upon which it received its lowest ever ratings. ABC reported that their viewers had plummeted from 5 million the year before to a meager 3.3 million. This occurred despite their inclusion of social media influencers who have ten times that amount of followers on Instagram, such as Kendall Jenner or the Hadid sisters.

In the weeks that have followed, there have been numerous trans activists and models speak out against the incident. Carmen Carrera has had a petition started for her to be included in the show. Nikita Dragun went on to release a fiercely sexy video in which she dons wings and lingerie, captioned “dear Victoria’s Secret, you said trans women can’t sell the “fantasy” so here I am as a TRANS WOMAN selling the FANTASY!” It’s utter sauce.

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Nikita Dragun dressed as an Angel in her video

 

Neither of these women would look remotely out of place in a 2019 VS line-up. They’re both insanely beautiful, with legs comparable to sky scrapers, perfectly round boobs and tiny waists. Their appearance is almost totally in tune with the 70-year-old Razek’s vision of how a woman should look.

Yet, what about the women – trans and cis – who don’t fit into this lingering physical ideal propelled forward by a patriarchal society?

In 2016, Ashley Graham was actually ignored by VS after posting onto social media an illustration of her as their first plus-sized model to walk this show – despite the image reaching hundreds of thousands of people. Bear in mind that Razek’s response to this is that L Brands have segregated larger models to another lingerie brand, Lane Bryant, and tried to televise a plus-size show back in 2000 but “No one had any interest in it, still don’t”.

Yep, he has been using the same argument for almost twenty years.

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Ashley Graham with her photoshopped Angel’s Wings

 

Disabled models haven’t even had a look in yet with their inclusion into the fashion industry being even slower than that of trans and non-binary people. Madeleine Stewart told Teen Vogue that it would be her “biggest dream” to be the first model with Down’s Syndrome to be featured in the Victoria’s Secret exclusive line-up.

Yet, with declining ratings and a muddied reputation, why do women still want to represent or support VS? These being a company who have made their name with the creation of a glorified beauty pageant. The Instagram generation are pushing for realist representations from brands. The international lingerie market is blossoming with inclusivity, with brands such as Savage X Fenty, Lonely Lingerie and TomboyX leading the way. Meanwhile, ThirdLove, a label that was invested in by an ex-VS CEO claims to create “Bras and underwear for every body” with their #WeAreAllAngels social media campaign. There’s still a long way to go for the lingerie market to be more woman-friendly and intersectional, but why don’t consumers and influencers start by supporting brands who truly support and promote them – rather than try to resuscitate a cis-man’s wet dream.

If Victoria’s Secrets want any hope of staying relevant, it’s time for them to make space for the female fantasy.

 

 

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Feminist Christmuff Party with My Body Back Project

Join Sh! and My Body Back Project for a fun, festive & feminist Christmas Party!

Vulva-ArtAs you know probably know by now, Sh! and MBBP are all about respecting, exploring and celebrating our bodies and all the wonderful things they give us, and if you want to join in our celebration of self-love this December, then this is the party for you. Come along and let’s celebrate the baetriarchy!

My Body Back Project is a small charity and they get by primarily on the goodwill and dedication of volunteers and supporters. But the amazing team really need your help to raise as much money as possible this Christmuff; this will ensure clinics and workshops stay open. It will also fulfill ambitious plans to develop healthcare that’s sensitive to the needs of people who have experienced sexual violence.

There’s lots of fun stuff lined up for the evening: Open mic readings, feminist jewellery making, plenty of time to browse & shop all the goodies Sh! have to offer, em-power ballads, cocktails, coffee, cakes and much more…

So, grab yourself a ticket (or two. Or three!) to what will be a fantastic Christmuff Party and support My Body Back’s crucial work.

Celebrate Christmuff!

Muff-in-tastic Bake Off!

Bake your way towards self-love by making a cake of your favourite body part. It might be because of the way it makes you feel, the way it looks, what it enables you to do or anything else! We’re thinking nipple cakes, vulva cakes, legs, lips, tongues, bums, tums – whatever. The more glittery, colourful or innovative the design, the better!

Our judges will choose the best three cakes and crown the Queens of Christmuff!

via GIPHY

To enter the Christmuff Bake-Off, book a special Muff-Maker ticket (only £3.50!), get cracking with recipe ideas to steal the show from any mere muff-ins, and get ready for a warm reception! Soggy bottoms welcome.