If I need to get underwear or a new bra, the first place I go is usually Victoria’s Secret. I buy from them because of the style, the actual product, and I’ll even admit – the brand name… But one thing I do not support is the Fashion Show Victoria’s Secret puts on annually. You will never see me sitting in front of the TV during that time.
While some people watching the show may be very content in the way they personally look, so many other people watching are not. Imagine a young girl, maybe 18-years-old, watching the Fashion Show. We’ll call her Annabelle. Annabelle has been feeling self-conscious for years, but after seeing all the beautiful and thin models, she decides to try and change the way she looks… Maybe this story ends happily, but there is also a chance it won’t.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders, 24 million people in the United States alone suffer from eating disorders. Who do I blame? Probably the media. The body type that is portrayed in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and in the media is naturally possessed by only 5% of American females. Well, what about the percentage of American females that want and are trying too look like the Angels? It’s much higher.
Another point to be made is the Fashion Show’s audience. I would argue that the people who are watching the Fashion Show are also the people who are buying Victoria’s Secret products. Maybe… around the 12 to 26 year-old range? Well… 95% of those people who have eating disorders, fall within that range.
Now let’s think back to Annabelle. Maybe she’ll be enrolling in a university soon, moving away to live on a college campus. Eating disorders and distorted body image on college campuses in incredible. Surveys show that 91% of women surveyed on college campuses are unhappy with the way they look and are trying to control their weight through dieting.
Throughout everyday life, the “ideal” body is seen everywhere I look, it seems. In the TV shows I watch, the artists I listen to, the models on websites. Unfortunately, the perfect body that is portrayed, is not reasonable for me, and many other people, to have. I do not fall in that 5% of people that can achieve the thigh-gap and collarbone and no-fat-anywhere look.
I’m not saying that these models are not beautiful. If I could look like them, would I? Maybe. Is that because society thinks I should look like that? Maybe.
What I am saying is that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is portraying something unrealistic to so many people and hurting so many self-esteems. Some viewers of the Fashion Show are not distinguishing the difference between these models and themselves. In a nation where body image is already a huge topic and weight control is in the forefront of our minds always, I wish more people would take a step back from watching these models walk down a runway in their underwear and appreciate the natural body type they were given.