What’s Wrong With Victoria Secret’s Comments on Trans and Plus Size Women?

Hours before the Victoria Secret Fashion Show held on November 8th, 2018, Vogue published an interview with VS Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek. When asked if VS plans to use plus size and transgender models, Razek responded to Vogue, “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”

He went on further to say that VS has tried to include trans and plus-size models, but people simply are uninterested. Razek told the Vogue interviewer:

If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.

Razek’s comments sparked outrage in online communities for his outdated and insensitive use of the word “transexual” and suggestion that plus size women and trans women are not suitable VS models.

However, there are others that suggest VS has done nothing wrong, and they have every right to shape their brand how they want to. Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.27.29 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.26.19 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.37.12 PM

It’s true that Victoria Secret has authority on the type of consumer they wish to sell to. However, they can’t control who buys their product. Let’s face it. Your mom, grandma, cousin, and baby sister shop at Victoria Secret. You’ll be hard pressed to find a young woman (with the means of course) who hasn’t perused the 7 for $28 panty special. And of  all the people aforementioned that shop at VS stores, none of them fit the criteria of a VS angel.

So what exactly is the VS market and what is this “fantasy”?

To simply put it… Men. The Victoria Secret runway and print ads are all designed for the male gaze. That’t the fantasy they are creating, and it’s the one we are all buying into.

Companies never sell the product. They sell what the product can provide. Toyota doesn’t sell cars. They sell safety and reliability. Allstate doesn’t sell insurance. They sell peace of mind. And McDonald’s doesn’t sell burgers. They sell happiness in a red and yellow happy meal.

Victoria Secret doesn’t sell underwear. They sell desirability. You want to be these women because they are the true definition of beauty as dictated by men. Trans women and plus size women don’t fit into this fantasy land because they’re not socially desired by men.

There are plenty of trans women that model and fit the body type of a VS model, and plus size models like Ashley Graham are demonstrating the growing interest in women that don’t fit the size zero mold.

What really is the deal with Victoria Secret? They simply don’t think we’re desirable, but don’t let the tweets fool you. You as a consumer have every right to demand what is marketed to you. Victoria Secret would not show on your Instagram feed or Facebook timeline if you weren’t the consumer.

This idea that cis white men and women with teeny waists and perfect peach beach bods is archaic, and they’re far behind their competitors. When Cheerios realized hey black people eat our cereal too, they made a commercial featuring interracial families. When Apple realized wow people all over the word really like this iPhone, they marketed to global audiences.

Victoria Secret’s excuses for not having plus size women or trans women are whack. They’re the same excuses they used for not having VS angels of color. In 2015, Maria Borges, made history when she walked down as the first VS model rocking her natural hair. And Kelsey Merritt, a filipina VS angel, didn’t join the team until early this year making her the first filipina VS angel in the company’s 41 year history.

The world is changing and Victoria Secret simply can’t keep up. Don’t waste your time and take your buying power elsewhere.

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Inside the Brain of a Fat Girl

Yes. I used the dreaded F word. C’mon. It’s okay to say. Let’s say it together.

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Fat.

Now, see. That wasn’t so scary. Many folks out in the world are scared to use the word fat because it has such a negative connotation. It’s a “bad” thing, and if you call someone that word, it’s as if you’re calling them bad, too.

The similar thing happens when you call a person black.

You know how people get. They crouch real low, speak in a whisper, check over their shoulder in case someone hears them. “Yeah… I’m looking for Michael… he’s um… um.. ya know… black.”

Well, of course we know Michael is black. Anyone within a 50 mile radius can tell Michael is black. Why are you whispering?

Why do we find it so difficult to say these things that are purely descriptors?

It’s because we know how those groups of people get treated in our country, and it’s hard for us to acknowledge.

I don’t often use the word fat to describe myself. I usually use plus size because if I use the word fat, it’s almost always to berate myself. Some days I’m very comfortable with my body. I’ll look in the mirror and say “Gahhhhhhh Damn! The lord blessed you with some mighty fine looks. You must be an angel!” And on other days, too many days, I think that the girl in the mirror isn’t even worth being seen. She’s fat.

I’ve been called fat many times. Behind my back and to my face. From acquaintances and people I have considered close. It’s always used as an insult, an attack on my being. Now, some people will say why don’t you just lose the weight? First of all, losing weight as a woman is extremely difficult. And second of all, why do I have to lose the weight? Why can’t the jerk who called me fat lose the attitude?

I used to feel bad when someone would call me fat. And some days, I do let it get to me. But I don’t have a problem with my size. I have a problem with the way I’m treated because of my size. I’m very comfortable with who I am as a person, and as long as I (extra emphasis on the word I) am comfortable with my being, I have nothing to change.

I don’t write this post that you’ll pity me. That’s never my intention with anything I post. I’m fairly content with my size. I’m a vegetarian. And I live a lifestyle a lot healthier than many peers my age. I want to debunk the myth that everyone who is fat wants to be skinny. If anything, I think people who are fat want to be valued in the same way people  who are skinny or lean or “regular sized” are valued.

I used to get self conscious eating food in front of other people because I was worried that people would think I’ve had enough. I used to get uncomfortable walking into a clothing stores because I knew almost 10 times out of 9 nothing was going to fit me.  My fears and uncomfortability were justifiable. Someone always has a comment to make about the appearance of someone else. But I’m so completely over being uncomfortable because someone else is dissatisfied by my simple existence. Who has the energy to keep that up? Most certainly not I.