After reading thoughts on Victoria's Secret getting negative feedback for their choice of models, I have some thoughts on the matter as well and how it affects our cultural view of models and of course, the style that we photographers shoot. There're some critics who feel that Victoria's Secret should include plus-size or transgender models in their fashion show.
Hazel Cills writes here about how she feels the fit, beautiful women for the signature lingerie company are causing them to lose popularity with the younger viewers. It sort of reminds me of the criticism that A&F received for not manufacturing clothes for plus sizes.
There was a quote about Ed Razek not understanding why it's culturally ok to skinny-shame the Victoria's Secret models. I agree with him: it isn't ok; these models are fit and beautiful. The Victoria's Secret models are a source of inspiration to young models and photographers as well. I watch the Fashion Show and follow all the Angels on Instagram. Why? Well, they are pretty girls, and that's a nice bonus. But the real value for a photographer here is how great of models they are: the ways they walk into a room, stand, sit, etc. are top notch. These are some of the finest models in the world in my opinion.
Mr. Razek is accused of being out of touch with the younger customer base by featuring pretty, fit models. Honestly, that is his choice, after all, but I agree with his choice. The reason why is because these models are fit and healthy, after all. They eat healthy, exercise, and are great role models. They are most certainly not malnourished, unhealthy, too skinny, etc. America is known as the most obese country all around the world and for a good reason. I myself am overweight, and I hate it; it's wildly uncomfortable, and I am working to remedy that. So, I certainly don't think a company should be bullied into promoting being overweight. At the end of the day, this is a world-leading lingerie company; it's expected they would have healthy and fit models.
Shooting the style of photos I do, I shoot a lot of thin, fit women, and I've always thought Mr. Razek's choices have been stellar. I like to learn from the Angels in tips and things I share and help my models with on set.
And most importantly here, when I think of Victoria's Secret, I think of the tall, thin, pretty models. I have nothing against a plus-size model, and I do not wish to bash them. Plus-size models have a right to be whatever size they are comfortable with; however, brands also have a right to select models they are comfortable with to promote the type of image they choose. There are other companies out there that specialize and cater to different types of models. I would compare this to me being upset that I couldn't be in a Calvin Klein ad because I am too heavy. Instead of being mad at them for featuring fit guys, I admit I am overweight and I go on about my business with what is within my means.
Encouraging positivity and happiness, the Victoria's Secret models always are healthy, happy, and friendly, and I think that's a wonderful image to present these role models in. Because let's face it, young girls do look up to these models. Below is one of my favorite Victoria's Secret models, always smiling and happy, promoting positivity. She never bashes heavy women; it seems pretty unfair that the bashing is a one-way street.
Some of today's culture seems to want everyone and everything to be equal. The reality is people are not the same: some people are tall, some short, some fat, some thin, and it is what it is. Victoria's Secret is known for tall, thin models; that's their right. Let's not try to push a square peg through a round hole. They are a great source of inspiration for me as a photographer, and I like it the way it is.
I normally average 250-400 likes on a model photo. When I recently posted a thin, fit Czech model shot in the same way I do everything else with the same hashtags, it rose to over 1,800. It seems clear to me what people would like to see when it comes to sexy models, and this would apply to the Victoria's Secret lingerie as well.
What do you think? Do you think Victoria's Secret should change its branding and platform to concede to these requests? If you do think that plus-size models should be in this show, I'd like to hear a reason why.
Lead image credit: Tofros via Pexels.