It’s that day of the year again.
The day where a bunch of women strut down a diamond runway in their skivvies with giant wings attached to their backs.
That’s right – it’s time for The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
I’m writing this Tuesday night (while the show is airing, though I’m not watching it), but I’ll be posting this tomorrow morning (or, if you're reading this, today).
If you don’t know what The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is, then I’m not sure whether to applaud you or ask whether you live under a rock. It’s basically one of the biggest and most anticipated runway shows, and it airs on television to showcase all things Victoria’s Secret (AKA bras, panties, and very stereotypically sexy ladies).
Let me begin by saying that I actually worked at Victoria’s Secret for several years in high school and college (as a sales associate and Bra Expert – yes, Bra Expert is a real title). I also use to watch the VS Fashion Show – I looked forward to it. I loved the extravagant wings and I’d always loved Vicky’s lingerie (I spent every paycheck I ever made in that store while employed there). I own every color of PINK (a section of Victoria's Secret that's caters to younger women/girls) sweatpants and my underwear drawer is full of VS goodies (I literally have over 200 pairs of skivvies…TMI? Sorry, not sorry.).
But the longer I worked there, and the older I got, the more I realized that Victoria’s Secret has some serious issues.
First and foremost, they cater only to the most generic sizes. AA to DD – nothing bigger in cup sizes, and nothing bigger than a 40 (which is NOT big – this is the measurement under the bust). As far as panties go, XS to XL…that’s it. And in terms of fancy lingerie – the bustiers and corsets and sexy little ensembles – there are even fewer size options. As a 34A, I could never find a sexy lingerie set that fit my itty bitty boobies. They started at 34B. This always bothered me – why shouldn’t gals with little breasts have lingerie options too?
And I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell women – very normal sized women – that we didn’t have a bra big enough for them. Or that we didn’t carry pajamas in an XXL (or even an XL most of the time). The size limitations frustrated me – I hated having to turn women away. I know what an amazing difference a good bra or cute panties can make in a woman’s life. I also know that sounds silly, but I’m being 100% serious. I watched women light up when they finally found a bra that fit – that felt good and made them feel confident. It was so amazing to help give women that little boost of happiness. But it absolutely sucked having to deny other women that joy.
Several years later and much more of a feminist, I look back on my time at Vicky’s and am even more upset. I haven’t been in a Victoria’s Secret in about half a year, but last time I stepped inside I took notice of all the pictures. Images of long, lean, busty but skinny models with flowing hair and flat stomachs (no different than when I'd worked there several years prior). I checked on the sizes in stock. Same lack of diversity. And I looked at the women wandering around and realized that most of them would not find their size in this store.
Then I consider the VS Fashion Show, a tribute to society’s “perfect” woman. That tanned, toned beauty who fits into everything flawlessly. Every single model has long, flowing hair. Each has a perfect, glistening white smile. Each is at least 5’8 and has a tiny waist, but still somehow manages to have voluptuous boobs. These are the Angels, and they’re a physical representation of the ideal VS woman (and, for many people, the ideal woman in general).