August 16, 2022


How Victoria's Secret Helped Cement Unrealistic Magnificence Requirements

In 1995, Victoria’s Secret’s reputation exploded with its inaugural Victoria’s Secret Vogue Present. Although the model had been round since 1977, the broadly broadcasted runway present put it on the map. From there, it solely grew, and grew, and grew — till that every one modified, which is one thing Hulu’s new docuseries “Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons” explores.

Within the early 2010s particularly, it was exhausting to keep away from Victoria’s Secret’s affect — its larger-than-life window shows may very well be present in malls throughout the nation, catalogs confirmed up unannounced in mailboxes, and many individuals walked round with the model’s brand etched throughout their clothes. The model turned a cultural phenomenon.

The Victoria’s Secret Angels had been the driving pressure behind the model’s profitable picture. It appeared like each younger, up-and-coming mannequin was striving to land a gig as an Angel and get their wings, and with names like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel, Gisele Bündchen, and Miranda Kerr on the roster, it is simple to know the enchantment. The ladies chosen to be Victoria’s Secret fashions all had a selected look, which helped perpetuate one common concept of magnificence.

“The Victoria’s Secret Angels had been perceived because the gold normal of what magnificence was imagined to be.”

“The Victoria’s Secret Angels had been perceived because the gold normal of what magnificence was imagined to be,” scientific psychologist Jenny Yip, PsyD, ABPP, tells POPSUGAR. The fashions had been primarily white, tall, and extremely skinny but nonetheless curvy, they usually had lengthy, bouncy, bombshell blowouts; tanned pores and skin; and no piercings or tattoos. “The look that was created by VS turned a recognizable a part of our tradition,” Beth Pausic, PsyD, scientific psychologist and director of behavioral well being at Hims & Hers, says.

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Behind the scenes, the model even went so far as barring any mannequin from having seen freckles or moles. “I keep in mind to start with, Les [Wexner] confirmed me a Playboy journal, and he wished to make the purpose that the fashions had excellent our bodies and no freckles or moles,” Cindy Fedus-Fields, former CEO of the model, says in one of many episode of the miniseries. “He was so adamant that I am going after excellent girls, à la horny ladies subsequent door.”

The Victoria’s Secret “look” was unattainable, to say the least, for the typical girls. “It created an inconceivable aesthetic best that lower than one % of girls can match,” Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, NYC-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Thoughts, says. “Most fashions had been no less than 5’9″ and certain weighed not more than 120 kilos, with extraordinarily lengthy legs, tiny waists, and enormous breasts sometimes enhanced by implants.”

This turned much more evident — and problematic — when the model expanded with its Pink line, which was marketed particularly towards millennial preteen and teenage ladies. However regardless of how unrealistic the “best” picture was, the model formed magnificence requirements and set developments within the 2000s, even outdoors of the lingerie world. Wanting again now, many people can agree that the concept of magnificence the model pushed was unhealthy. However on the time, it was exhausting to see. It makes you marvel: what did that slender view of magnificence do to the brains of shoppers?

“For the younger ladies or girls who would pour by means of the catalogs and evaluate themselves unfavorably to those fashions, it was not a boon to their shallowness,” Dr. Hafeez says. Dr. Pausic provides, “When tradition and society are displaying you a really perfect to which you are feeling compelled to try to stay as much as, the tip outcome will be at a minimal disheartening and, in some instances, psychologically damaging.”

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Analysis has proven that this psychological injury can manifest in numerous methods, together with elevated despair, physique insecurities, and decreased confidence. “Some could develop a detrimental physique picture, and this will embody emotions of tension, disgrace, low shallowness, disordered consuming, suicidal ideas, consuming issues, and social nervousness,” Dr. Pausic says. “A detrimental physique picture can even result in a distorted view of 1’s personal physique, in addition to fixed comparisons to others’ our bodies that they deem to be higher.”

“When tradition and society are displaying you a really perfect to which you are feeling compelled to try to stay as much as, the tip outcome will be at a minimal disheartening and, in some instances, psychologically damaging.”

Not solely did this put loads of stress on the typical client purchasing at Victoria’s Secret, however it was dangerous for lots of the fashions, too. Fixed weigh-ins and physique measuring ensured the fashions did not achieve any weight and stayed the “best” measurement. “Even the Angels had a troublesome time attaining the VS picture, as there are documented experiences of utmost weight-reduction plan and exercise routines, cosmetic surgery, and hair extensions to reinforce their options,” Dr. Pausic says. Dr. Yip provides, “It is a full-time job.”

On the model’s peak, many shoppers did not notice they had been being fed poisonous magnificence requirements — as an alternative, it was billed as aspirational and a dream. It was solely after the smoke and mirrors went away that Lyndsey Scott, a former Victoria’s Secret mannequin interviewed within the sequence, says, “It turned clear to me that Victoria’s Secret wasn’t empowering girls. They used such a slender concept of magnificence of their advertising that it was doing the exact opposite — it was making girls really feel dangerous about themselves.” However to be honest, Victoria’s Secret wasn’t the one model doing so on the time — it was the tradition we lived in and proceed to in various levels.

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Poisonous magnificence requirements actually have not gone away — they’ve merely taken on different varieties by the use of social media and filters. However the tide has shifted no less than barely, permitting room for extra inclusive, various concepts of magnificence to be celebrated.