I walked in to Victoria’s Secret to buy some on-sale underwear and was struck by these giant posters of mostly naked supermodels with cheesy backgrounds and hair blowing in the wind of sexy.
All I kept thinking is: What is Victoria’s Secret trying to sell me?
If beautiful women wear these things, I should, too?
The belief that if I put on this bra and underwear, I’ll grow six inches and larger breasts?
Or if I put on this, my significant other will see me as a sexy supermodel?
Or if I put on this, my significant other really wants a supermodel so I better try?
The commercials and advertisements seem to be geared towards a macho fantasy world, but I’d be shocked if most of the Victoria’s Secret purchases are by men. And what do those guys, who were told by their girlfriends or wives to go there, think they’ll get out of buying something by Victoria’s Secret?
I have shopped there for a long time although for the last decade I have only gone in for specific items because they have the best selection and quality for the price when it comes to certain bra styles and underwear sales. As I thought back to college when I was not as discerning about my purchases, I realize now that I was buying the idea of sexy without understanding the lines between showing off the legs I have and showing off everything I have. I did not know the difference between having fun with a boyfriend and being what I thought he wanted me to be — a movie star, a p0rn star, a runway model.
But I was 20-years-old and naive as to who I could be and who I wanted to be. Between blogging and parenting and a lot of growing up, I am more sensitive to marketing and less susceptible to it. I can appreciate the beauty of a model without picturing myself as her or needing to be her. With knowledge of Photoshop, an understand of the marketing of “need” and confidence as to my place in the world, I can be funny or objective when it come to the Victoria Secret models instead of jealous or motivated.
However, I am surprised that this fantasy world still works is as an ad campaign to sell nice underwear. No lingerie is going to change my height, weight, cup-size, or sex life. Or anyone else’s. How have adult men and women not recognized this? How have we not taught our teenagers this?
And that, the issue of my children, is where I get upset at any of the possible meanings of the Victoria’s Secret approach. My children were not with me when I bought the underwear but the very concepts of sex and sexiness are everywhere including the shop windows. I don’t want my children to slowly buy into this fake sexy where crawling out of an ocean in a bra and underwear or donning angel wings is the ultimate standard. When they are old enough, I want them to experience true intimacy and a love for their bodies and the bodies of those they chose to date.
But I did buy underwear there. Over a decade later with all my knowledge and all my prowess, I continue to be a part of the problem. I am buying in with my wallet even if it’s not with my heart or body anymore.
Maybe I still don’t understand what Victoria’s Secret is selling.
UPDATE: I began putting this piece together awhile ago and haven’t shopped at Victoria’s Secret since — catching my hypocrisy is a great gift of blogging.