Now before I get into the purpose of the post, I would like to disclaim I am not just pin pointing Victoria Secret. There are countless companies, public figures, even our inner worst thoughts that this post can pertain to. October is breast cancer awareness month and in my town there is a event hosted in honor to raise money to help fill the gap of women who can not afford reconstructive surgery. Local small businesses are asked to decorate bras to auction off and have a friendly competition on who can decorate the best bra. Therefore, at Poppy Avenue Boutique my mom and I wanted to be able to do something special. We asked women who have had reconstructive surgery and survivors of breast cancer to model our bras decorated by Flower Mill. In doing this photoshoot with Erin Jean Photography, I saw something that really opened my eyes. My eyes were instantly overwhelmed by emotion of how the photographs not only portray beautiful women, but also their struggles, their triumphs, their inner beauty, their smile, their laugh, their confidence in their body and embracing all its imperfections. After this shoot I began to wonder why have companies like Victoria Secret, magazines, and tv shows plastered our standards of beauty with an unachievable standard of perfection? Therefore, today I’m going to be talking about three things that companies like Victoria Secret get wrong about women.
- Sex Sells Lie: Everyone has heard the term, “well that’s just because sex sells” in their life at one time or another. While I am sure this statement is true being that the porn industry is thriving on billions of viewers every year; however, I beg to differ that we as women believe the lie that our bodies are just sexual objects. I believe that we are more. When I look at these pictures of real women who have faced the unimaginable and come out smiling, I want to look more like them. I do not want to look like the Victoria Secret model who is a size 00 and had a boob job. I want to see pictures of real women on Victoria Secret walls and magazine covers like breast cancer survivors, girl bosses, my mom, teachers, and other women who inspire me to be the woman that I am. I wonder how different my self confidence would have been growing up with images of the everyday woman instead of models, photoshop, and terminology “sex sells” frequently used. When I think about this bullet point I am instantly reminded of Jenna speech in 13 going on 30 when she sells her new vibrant idea to her magazine editor. Jenna states,
“Who are these women? Does anyone know? I don’t recognize any of them. I want to see my best friend’s big sister, the girls from the soccer team, my next door neighbor, real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are. These are the women to look up to. Let’s put life back into the magazine. And fun and laughter and silliness. I think we all – I think all of us – want to feel something that we’ve forgotten or turned our backs on because maybe we didn’t realize how much we were leaving behind. We need to remember what used to be good. If we don’t, we won’t recognize it even if it hits us between the eyes.”
- The Cover Lie (You Are Not Beautiful If You Don’t Look Like Victoria Models): Regardless of what our mothers told us growing up; in fact, it is true that many judge a book by its cover. We as women have definitely bought into this lie once, twice, or everyday. I tend to have this thought once or twice a year when I have an unsuccessful shopping trip to Victoria secret and see that their bras look nothing on me like they do on the models they have pictured every where…on every wall of the entire store! Looking at these pictures of survivors in bras I am instantly amazed at just how drop dead gorgeous each of these women are…like seriously why are not more images in the media like these pictures. We as everyday women need to stop being so hard on ourselves that we do not look like models in the magazines. We all have smiles, curves, stories, and life experiences that are all so unique and we need to start embracing that and loving our bodies. Our bodies are not defined by a single flaw or american standard. Our bodies are whole, alive, healthy, and beautiful in our own ways.
- You Are Nothing More Than A Sexual Object: All the magazines and pictures in the media do a wonderful job of portraying this lie and painting it up to look so beautiful and alluring. We have all been in the grocery store and seen the pictures of a half nude woman with her hair covering her breast, highly edited, and a quote that says something along the lines of “5 Tips on how to get the perfect sexy bikini body.” As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, this is a lie that hits close to home for me. These lies do not only affect women, but also men who grow up with these standards. If you look in our media recently, Hugh Hefner the founder of playboy, passed away. Many people are praising him for the work he did in the industry; however, I can probably think of about a million people who have been negatively affected by this man’s life work. His career alone was all about showcasing women nude or nearly nude, normalizing porn, and degrading woman to being nothing more than sexual objects. I believe that we as women are way more sexy and empowering beyond just our looks. I chose to believe that I more than a sexual object: I am a daughter, sister, boss, believer, dreamer, painter, dancer, karaoke singer, and survivor of this worlds misfortunes. I believe that we as american’s crave to see more real and meaningful pictures and articles that portray those kinds of characteristics. I wanna see tips on how to deal with real life problems with pictures of women who have actually survived these struggles.
Ultimately, my hope is that today you close out of this post inspired to believe that you are not these lies and that you strive to believe in more than just the american standard of beauty. Thank you for reading and let me know in the comments below what you would like to see normalized in magazines.