Opinion Dear Victoria’s Secret, it’s time to lift your game

Dear Victoria’s Secret, it’s time to lift your game

hadid sisters victorias secret
The Hadid sisters epitomise the Victoria's Secret 'look'. Photo: Getty
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Pirelli did it. Maxim did it. Sports Illustrated did it. Even Playboy did it.

The aforementioned brands have all recently adopted an approach more befitting of modern attitudes – introducing more racially diverse models, ditching Photoshop and embracing different female body types.

In the case of Playboy, the men’s magazine responded to ongoing backlash against its objectification of women by removing nudity from its pages entirely.

pirelli sports illustrated
The Pirelli calendar (left) and Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit edition have both broadened their horizons.

Sure, all these changes were probably token efforts designed to generate publicity, but they were a step in the right direction.

In contrast, American lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret appears to be going backwards.

The multi-billion-dollar underwear empire is known for its annual fashion show, which sees a bevy of beauties strut down a sparkling catwalk in angel wings and skimpy lace.

But the line-up of models at the 2016 show that was filmed in Paris on Wednesday (AEDT) did provide some cause for concern.

victoria's secret models
This year’s Victoria’s Secret model were body type clones. Photo: Getty

When it first launched, the parade featured fuller-figured women like Tyra Banks and Laetitia Casta alongside toned teenagers like a young Gisele Bundchen and Adriana Lima.

They were beautiful but they represented a broader variety of female body types, from the flat-chested to the busty, and the athletic to the curvy.

While this year’s parade can be applauded for featuring racially diverse models, it must be called out for its complete lack of body-type diversity.

Sure, models are, by their very nature, beautiful. But in 2016, they no longer have to be cookie-cutter thin. Women like Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley have changed all that.

Victoria’s Secret have to sell a product and that product tends to look better on tiny sculpted butts, but that’s actually not a good indicator of how the products will fit women who don’t have the time or money to see a personal trainer several times a week.

victoria's secret before and after
Before and after: Models Tyra Banks (left) and Romee Strijd. Photo: Getty

It’s time to acknowledge that while the average Victoria’s Secret shopper may appreciate beauty, most of them will not possess the very specific body shape its models do.

Heck, even the models don’t naturally possess that body type. They’re all incredibly vocal about how hard they work to look their best on the big day.

Bella Hadid
Before and after: Model Bella Hadid lost weight by eating protein and exercising for three hours a day. Photo: Getty

New addition Bella Hadid, 20, revealed she lost weight from her breasts and backside by adhering to a strict diet and exercise regime.

“I worked out so hard and everybody is like, ‘Oh, she looks so skinny blah, blah, blah’,” she told People.

“I’ve been eating hard protein every day, and working out for three hours every day.”

victorias secret show 2016
Although culturally diverse, the models all possess the same body type. Photo: Getty

The brand is so confined to a certain appearance (tall, thin, toned, barely out of their teens) it has even started hiring its models from within the same family.

This year, Bella joined her sister Gigi Hadid to become the first siblings to walk the runway.

Of course, no one has to punish these perfectly sculpted women by shaming them – they’re real people with feelings.

But it would be nice if Victoria’s Secret could also stop inadvertently shaming women with fuller figures (or women over the age of 35) by ignoring their existence entirely.

victorias secret show models
Plus-size models are missing from the VS runway. Photo: Getty

Next year, walking alongside the Kendall Jenners, Gigi Hadids and Adriana Limas, I’d like to see at least one beautiful woman with thighs that touch.

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