Opinion: Victoria’s dirty laundry

Katie Smith is a senior public relations major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Katie Smith

Growing up as a female nowadays isn’t easy. We have people in magazines, and on social and mainstream media telling us what we should look like and how we should act. We face constant pressure everyday that tells us to be someone else.

Advertisers sell us an unattainable idea of perfection, one that is only attainable if we buy whatever product it is they’re trying to sell. No one does it better than Victoria’s Secret, but its latest ad campaign marched into some dangerous territory.

The ad featured super-thin, leggy and busty models in Victoria’s Secret bras and underwear, which sounds like any other ad campaign from the retailer, but this one was titled “The Perfect Body.”

The “perfect” body. Think about that statement for a second. Now think of that statement in the context of this ad: Victoria’s Secret was probably selling the idea that its bra can give your breasts and body the perfect shape, but what I interpreted from the ad was these models’ bodies are perfect and that we should try to emulate them.

Let’s talk about how many women you know who look like these models. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve seen any underwear models running around campus. If you have, great, but my point is this body type isn’t the norm. If you weren’t born with the genes, this body type is almost impossible to duplicate without extreme dieting, exercising and good luck in growing six inches taller.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) website said, “The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5 percent of American females.”

The average American female 20 years or older is 5-foot-3-inches tall and weighs 166.2 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

The ANAD website also said, “91 percent of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. Twenty-two percent dieted ‘often’ or ‘always.’”

The media doesn’t help our body images at all. If anything, it corrupts them.

There’s nothing wrong with these models’ bodies. They are beautiful. The fact is, however, that there’s nothing wrong with any of our bodies. We’re all beautiful. If you’re naturally skinny, embrace it. If you’re plump, work it. Instead of beating ourselves up over not having the “perfect” body, let’s celebrate the bodies we do have because where would we be without them?

A petition on change.org accused Victoria’s Secret of irresponsible marketing and 30,000 signatures later, the company changed the campaign name from “The Perfect Body” to “A Body for Every Body.” Much better.

It makes me happy to see women fighting back against the constant pressures we receive, but it would be even better if we didn’t have to.