Although what we see in the media is ultimately framed to meet the intended message of the story, it truly reflects on how our society is. In the world of social media, it takes a greater toll. We no longer just hear things by watching television, reading magazines and newspapers, and word of mouth. We can connect and share information instantaneously simply by having an internet connection. With this, things can escalate quickly – regardless of how misinformed an argument may actually be.
In October 2014, Victoria’s Secret launched their “Perfect Body” campaign across the United Kingdom and United States. The specific line of lingerie emphasizes a perfect fit, comfort, and softness of its occupying products. While this is a positive thing marketed towards women, not everyone believes this to be so.
Upon the release of the campaign in the United Kingdom and United States, uproar emerged on the internet. Rather than focusing on the product being sold to consumers, there has been criticism regarding the language and images utilized in association to the campaign.
“The Perfect Body” campaign, like other campaigns by the company, features Victoria’s Secret models. Typically, the characteristics of Victoria’s Secret models are different from the everyday public. They are a minimum of 5 feet 8 inches tall, have an hourglass figure, and meet measurements specified by Victoria’s Secret. Not everyone has these, yet some do. The argument that it is not a “perfect body” is absurd. The backlash of featuring these models is hypocritical as it is shaming other individuals who indeed have these bodies. It is saying that it is not appropriate or beautiful to have a different appearance than those commenting.
An additional criticism associated with “The Perfect Body” campaign is the impact the line has on young girls. As it is utilizing the language of “Perfect,” it is apparently sending a message that there is only one ‘perfect’ body image. It is unhealthy and damaging to self-esteem, reflections, and connotations of what a perfect body should look like.
When I last checked, “The Perfect Body” campaign was an advertisement selling products by a company. Typically, young girls are not the demographic they intend to reach with their ads. Victoria’s Secret is unable to be held responsible for the potential ‘damages’ to these young girls. They are not the ones purchasing the products, nor wearing the products.
It is a fantastic marketing campaign. The photograph utilized is aesthetically pleasing. It is clean, framed positively, showcases women empowered and not in sexually subjective poses, and showcases women wearing the products being sold. It has the world talking about Victoria’s Secret, including individuals who may not have previously. Individuals are incorporating the Twitter hashtag used by the company in social media promotion. It is simply free publicity that Victoria’s Secret does not have to pay for.
Ironically, the internet states that Victoria’s Secret should follow in the footsteps of Dove. For those unfamiliar, the company launched the Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty in 2004 featuring ‘real’ bodies. However, no one deems to criticize Dove for being associated with the ad campaigns of its sister company for its misogynistic advertisements for Axe Body Spray. Nor are the ads themselves representative of every body image. There are indeed girls who look like Victoria’s Secret models within the campaign.
These lead to further questions. What makes one portrayal of women acceptable when another is surrounded by controversy? Why is inappropriate to body shame women who do not look like Victoria’s Secret models, yet acceptable to do so to the individuals who look like Victoria’s Secret models? Finally, why are we still allowing the media to dictate what the ideal body should be?
Rather than Victoria’s Secret apologizing for and amending the irresponsible marketing of their “The Perfect Body” campaign, it is the individuals who are behind the backlash towards the company who should be apologizing to the company for irresponsibly and naively believing an advertisement will dictate a significant impact rather than simply barring economic gain for Victoria’s Secret.
University of the Fraser Valley
This post first appeared on Barely Arbitrary : Student's Perspective On Issues In Popular Media., please read the originial post: here