Lingerie Models as Role Models?

December 2, 2011

Political Theory


Tuesday night, one of the biggest television shows was viewed across campus in Ann Arbor: The Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion Show.  While Victoria’s Secret is already infamous for their lingerie, this fashion show went above and beyond.  The main attraction of bra and underwear were complimented with costumes and angel wings for each model.  The special bra of the night was a bra worn by Miranda Kerr, which totaled an amount of 2.5 million dollars.

While watching this fashion show, one of my guy friends asked me what the point of the show was.  Thinking he was oblivious, I mentioned the fact that perfect, beautiful women were walking close to naked on his television screen for an hour.  He clarified and asked if any of the special bras or outfits were for sale.  Most of them are worth several thousand dollars, not to mention the 2.5 million dollar bra, so I laughed and told him no.  He then continued to ask me the point of the fashion show, which got me thinking of the meaning behind the hour of models.

The bras and underwear for the most part weren’t for sale at all.  This seems to go against the point of a fashion show, where usually the designers are showcasing their new collection in hopes that consumers fall in love with their designs and “have” to have the latest style of clothes.  Throughout the fashion show, interviews with Angels were shown with the models gushing about how any girl can become a Victoria’s Secret Angel.  Really? Any girl?  Whenever the camera zoomed in on a specific bra, you could see the ribcage of the current model.  If the camera adds 10 pounds, what does this mean about the model’s actual size in real life then?  I’m not a feminist, and trust me I love the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show as much as any other guy out there, but what really is the point of it?  Is our society currently so shallow that we will devote an hour to show off the most “beautiful” women in the world to the men in the world, and have the women watching decide they need to start working out?

I’m definitely not hating on the fashion show.  Actually, I’m the one who reminded my guy friends that it was airing and went over to watch with them.  But hearing the models talk in their interviews to the younger teenagers out there that someday, if they really want to, they can become an Angel, really worries me.  If they really want to?  So if they really can force themselves not to eat food like a normal person, they can weigh 80 pounds and get to be displayed to the world scantily clad.  There was even one point where the Angels were talking about how they used to want to be an astronaut, or a scientist, or even a doctor when they were younger.  What kind of message is that sending to our younger generation of girls?  Yeah, it’s great if you have high hopes and want to be an astronaut, but if that’s not good enough for you, just hope you turn out to be 5’10 and then don’t eat so you can be skinny enough to not have a fat pound on your body.  What do you think?  Am I being crazy or is this fashion show, as much fun as it is to watch, harmful to our future society, especially our younger women?  I have enough self confidence in myself to know that I’ll never look like that to be able to eat oreo cookies during the fashion show, but for a 14 year old girl out there who is in her awkward stage I’m worried that the show does more harm than good.  I miss the days where I only knew that redbull gave me wings, not having an unrealistically perfect body.

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2 Comments on “Lingerie Models as Role Models?”

  1. bbarocas Says:

    I agree that the fashion show can potentially be a very bad influence on young girls in our society. During the fashion show, I actually noticed that one of my friends tweeted something to the effect that she was “starving herself while watching the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. She was not serious, but this is not even funny to joke about. However, this is how many girls truly feel while watching the fashion show. For many girls it is hard to look at the girls on television and feel okay about yourself. No matter what the models say, is is extremely difficult to look like them, and often takes many unhealthy sacrifices. It can certainly be harmful to society because many girls are not confident or strong enough to sit there and eat cookies after watching the fashion show. Like my friend on twitter, they watch in awe and wonder how in the world they are supposed to feel okay about their bodies. I think that it is very important for parents and other adults to show children that everyone should be comfortable with their body no matter how they look. They must emphasize that it is okay not to look like the models, and if you are going to attempt to, to do it healthy and not let it consume you. As far as what it says about society, I don’t necessarily think it says that we are shallow. The truth of the matter is that it provides good ratings and helps Victoria’s Secret and the television network bring in a lot of money. Ultimately, people love watching it and that is all that matters. It is just natural that many guys are going to want to watch the show and really enjoy it. I believe that this is just human nature, rather than a sense of being shallow. Finally, if society can show more girls that it is okay to watch the fashion show and not let it affect how you act or think, then that will be a great thing. In the meantime, an event like this will always spark an interesting conversation and make many of America’s women wonder how people can look like that and feel jealous and insecure.

  2. benhenri Says:

    I agree with bbarocas that the Victoria Secret Fashion Show can be detrimental to the self-esteem and even physical health of people, especailly young women. I also agree with bbarocas that parents should make sure to communicate with their children about the relatively harmful physical state these models put themselves in and how there may be several negative effects on them in the long run. We must also keep in mind, though, that young women are being exposed to extremely skinny models, like those in the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, everyday on television and in magazines. These women are not really being exposed to something very new and extraordinary. However, I do not agree with the writer when they declare that there is not a valid point to the show. The costumes are extremely elaborate and seem like they take a very long time to create. They follow a theme. This year, the fashion show had an underwater theme so many models were dressed as mermaids and the like. Honestly, the costumes have artistic value, as many other works of fashion designers have. The show is also an advertising scheme, I believe. Even though the bras specifically shown are not for sale, everyone is well aware that the Victoria Secret company produced these bras. And, probably, if people really like the bras shown, they believe they will also like the bras sold in the Victoria Secret stores. I can project that Victoria Secret must make much more revenue after their fashion show and especially because it is right before the Christmas holiday and people are desperately beginning to find presents for their friends and family. I think that the particular time of year Victoria Secret chose to aire their fashion show was another advertising tactic.

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