On December 10th of this past year, the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired with approximately 9.72 million viewers and was the night’s number one program for adults ages eighteen to forty-nine and adults eighteen to thirty-four. During the forty-five minutes show eighteen VS Angels paraded up and down a runway supposedly advertising lingerie and sleepwear for Victoria’s Secret along side popular artists who perform live, such as Fall Out Boy and Taylor Swift as seen in the 2013 show. Music is a strong point throughout the show and can be seen to set tones when the models are on the runway, but also when they are doing interviews. Behind stage when models are interviewing about their childhoods the song “Burn” by Ellie Goulding is playing.
The tone of the song plus the topic, in which the models are discussing, makes viewers believe they are average women just like the ones watching. The point of the VS Fashion Show is business and advertisement for the company, but society views the show and adapts a different message from it. The show, to society, represents how women should physically look everyday due to the models that walk the runway. This physical appearance that is believed to be obtainable for every women within our society is 117 pounds, 5’11” tall and a body mass index (BMI) on an anorexic woman, instead of the average women who stands at 5’4″ and weighs 140 pounds. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show places the idea that the models seen on the runway are average women with average bodies, when in reality the bodies these models have are drastically “created” and highly unobtainable for the majority of women. Women within our society have recognized this fact and respond in a negative way, every year that the show is aired.
VS models and angels exercise twice a day seven days a week, only eat whole food two days a week, drink a minimum of a gallon of water a day and consume at most fifteen hundred to two thousand calories a day. The rigour it takes to look like a VS model or angel is very well stated by Adriana Lima, a current VS angel, who discussed how she did not drink “liquids at all so you dry out, sometimes you can lose up to eight pounds just from that.” Also, according to fellow VS angel, Toni Garrn she describes her lifestyle as the following in an article by Vogue…
“My exercise regime is pretty strict anyway. I work out every day, but I step it up for the show. Before the 2013 show, I didn’t eat sugar or gluten for a month”
Victoria’s Secret models live a lifestyle that does not fit into the average women’s life, but society still believes women should psychically look like the ones on runways. The average women within our society due to these high standards since 1990 have exponentially obtained low self-esteem and eating disorders. Within the United States, only four percent of women consider themselves as beautiful, while twenty million women have an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or body dysmorphic disorder. In the United States, society’s standards that women are held to are idealistic at best and not feasible for women in anyway. Having physical body standards that are, at times, impossible to reach lead to other issues amongst women such as depression and exercise addictions.
Women are not, however, the only ones struggling with these unobtainable standards, but also adolescent teenage girls are too. In the book The Best Little Girl in the World, written by Steven Levenkron, the main character, a young teenager named Francesca Louise Dietrich, is told to firm up and be small due to the fact she is a ballet dancer. Within the book, a rhyme that defines Francesca’s struggle with her body issues also fits to define the demographic of young girls within our society also struggling with body issues.
Fat and skinny had a race
All around the pillow case
Fat fell down and broke her face
Skinny said, “Ha ha,
I won the race.”
Women within our society want to change the way people expect them to look, but do not know how to go about it. Many organizations, such as Miss Representation, have attempted to start revolutions of the depiction of women’s bodies, but sadly not many have caught on. Since there is very little change with the way society views women and the expectations of their bodies, one can only prepare for the thoughts and views that come from the VS Fashion Show regarding model’s physical appearance and stay confident with their own bodies. Anna Barrera is quoted in the auto interview below as saying that “women should strive to what they view as realistic for their own bodies in their own lifestyle- they should not strive for a body that is not their own because it looks pretty on someone else.”
For women who are struggling with low self-esteem, eating disorders, depression due to their beauty, or any type of discontent with their body the following sites can help shine light on the reality of different body types, places in which you can receive help, and general information about self-esteem and eating disorders.