Dear Victoria’s Secret:
What the hell’s the matter with you? You should know better.
You know what, maybe I should back up, provide a little context as to why I’m so angry with you. Let’s start with your most recent catalog. Something that was pointed out to me by a friend from high school, Leanne, on Facebook. Something I, sadly, wouldn’t have thought to look for. But I’m not the market for this catalog, am I, so why would I give a crap? Well, I do. I have daughters, so I care quite a bit.
Here’s a snapshot of the lacy thing on the back cover:
Let’s zoom in, shall we:
See it now? Compare it to the picture just before this one. Notice how this model’s underwear seems to extend out beyond the end of her hips? How the underwear is just magically floating out there in space? See it now?
So, I ask again: what the hell is wrong with you? Why would you think this kind of thing is okay?
Let me lay some foundation here. I’m not a body shamer. I think that people are the shape that they are, that it’s none of my business, and that’s that. Some of us work to change our shape because we don’t like it (that would be me right now, trying to lose all the holiday weight I put on). Some of us don’t care what our shape is. Some of us are larger and that’s just the way our body is, and some of us are rail thin, again because that’s the way our body is. I’m not about to start shaming a VS model for being too skinny, because I know nothing about her or her body. I don’t even know her name. Maybe she starves herself to make it into the pages of the catalog, living on Diet Coke and cigarettes. Maybe she works out eight days a week and eats well and her body is the fruit of those labors. Maybe she has the metabolism of a high school football player, eating Big Macs everyday and losing weight in the process. Doesn’t matter what her situation is cause it’s none of my business.
What IS my business is the blatant Photoshopping you’ve done on a catalog that comes into my home. When I (or in this case, my wife) invite you into our home, I expect you to behave in a manner that is polite and respectable. You’re digitally shaving off part of this girl’s body is not polite. It’s unbelievably rude. It shows incredibly disrespect for the human body. And it’s dangerous.
I have a twelve year old daughter. She’s too young for most of your stuff, thankfully, but she does like the Pink line you sell. Sweatshirts, comfy pajamas, stuff like that. Sure, I get that. Who doesn’t like comfy pajamas. She doesn’t look through the catalogs, it’s not her thing. She could care less about sexy lacy things at this point, and I’m more grateful for that than I can express. I’m completely unprepared for the day when sexy underwear becomes her thing. At that point I may lock her away in a tower, hire a contractor to dig a moat, and rent a dragon.
Except, what happens when she DOES start to look through the catalogs for those things? When she see these girls, who are made to look rail thin, simply because you want to sell more of a sheer lacy cover thing? God forbid she thinks this image is something to emulate. The last thing she, or any girl, needs is an eating disorder because of something she saw in a catalog. There is plenty of evidence that things that glorify “thinness” are a contributing factor to body image issues. Don’t believe me? Review this link, and notice the third category from the top.
Or maybe it’s even more insidious. Maybe you know and you simply don’t care. Maybe you have inventory to move and gross margins to hit and shareholders to report to. That would be even more inexcusable.
As a concerned, and irate, parent of daughters, I’m challenging you to fix this. How about you produce a catalog of VS girls in their underwear with NO photo editing at all? How about you let us see that these girls have paunches, cellulite, moles, birthmarks, and no gap between their thighs? How about you show the world what real women look like, apologize for your crassness, and make a statement that it doesn’t matter what you look like, that as long as you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’re beautiful? That would be a catalog I think we all would appreciate.