The term “hard work” is a word often heard around the Victoria’s Secret world. Earlier this month in an interview with Vogue, Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer Ed Razek talked about the hard work VS models go through and what it takes to put on “the fantasy.”
Razek discussed the difficulty of building a brand, how hard the models participating work, that progress was made and “the girls have just continued to get more physically fit.”
Moving forward in the interview, Razek stated that VS markets to its specific clientele, and that nobody has an interest in a televised fashion show for transgender or plus-sized models.
Razek also went on to state that he does not think “transsexuals” should be put in the VS show.
“The show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is,” Razek said.
Traditionally, the standard VS model is tall and thin, which is offbeat to the world of body diversity. With Razek using terms like “aggressively fit,” there is no surprise that the models exercise rigorously.
VS has strict requirements to enter the show, so much that many models break down in tears after being admitted. VS models, using the hashtag “#trainlikeanangel,” consistently train, tone, box and more for a requirement that is unattainable for many women.
Once put into the show, the training does not stop and the exercise to maintain the body requirement continues.
The issue with the thin body necessity is that it perpetuates the culture of restriction. The VS fashion show is watched by billions each year. With excellent marketing techniques, hashtags and articles showcasing how to train like a model, it continues to push the concept that women should be rewarded for restricting.
Bridget Malcolm, who walked for the 2015 and 2016 shows, apologized earlier this year for posting about her “damaging eating habits” and exercise.
“I have had countless conversations with fellow models, all of whom are tiny, where they call themselves fat. It is such a hard thing to understand if you are removed from this … but when it becomes a mental game like this, it grows wings of its own,” Malcolm wrote on her official blog.
What does this encourage to women who idolize the VS fashion shows and model appearances? Does it encourage restriction? Does a day without exercise mean a day of failure? To restrict social interactions in favor of hard-to-obtain body goals?
People with eating disorders can attest and that is where VS begins to dissolve. Yet models are expected to be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this unhealthy show. The VS fashion show is the top of the top, how one knows they made it. What is worse is that this is not expected to change anytime soon.
Despite apologizing after his transgender and plus-sized comments and the resignation of VS CEO Jan Singer, which is speculated to be over the criticism of the brand though an official reason has not been released, the company is remaining steady.
In the future, however, VS’s popularity does not seem indefinite. With influencers and celebrities fighting for trans visibility and body inclusion, VS may see a severe drop in sales and popularity in the coming years, and rightfully so.