Monday, January 13, 2014

Liar, Liar: Victoria's Secret

I probably get at least three to four Victoria's Secret's catalogs in the mail each week. Even though I am fully aware that for every two minutes I spend perusing through pages of airbrushed 22 year old models  I add another ten hours of therapy to address my body image issues, I can't seem to turn away. I can't shake myself of the desire to punch those Victoria's Secret marketing executives in the face.

It must be working. The company seems to sell plenty of bras. I shop there myself. But I don't get it. As I page through the catalog taking in picture after picture of a tight, tanned pretty young thing with her breasts busting  out of her "Very Sexy" bra, and her hip bone jutting out just beneath her cheeky, barely there panties I feel more and more inadequate. The thought crosses my mind that since I'm going to look nothing like the hottie with the bedroom eyes and the boob job I might as well save my money and buy my undies at Target.

I never used to pay much attention to their athletic wear.  Recently I came to terms with the fact that I needed an upgrade to my gym wardrobe, thus when my Vicky's catalog arrived for the fourth time that week, I flipped to the workout section. To my delight and amazement,  I discovered that Victoria's Secret models work out in brightly color coordinated sport bras and tight yoga pants. Somehow their hair either stays perfectly shiny and styled, or is tousled in their eyes, slightly damp from the exertion of a hard work out. The models are bent over their exercise bikes showing a "hint" of cleavage, their lips parted in a sexy pout, their eyes slightly closed and beckoning. Wow. I need one of those sport bras STAT! So I purchased two, but could not afford the matching skin-tight "yoga" pants and would have to make due with my faded Old Navy wear.

Last weekend I put on one of my pretty new bras and got ready to head to the gym. It's true, unlike the VS models, I always cover up with a t-shirt, no matter how hot that gym gets. But just for fun I decided to check myself out in the mirror before throwing on my not so stylish shirt to see if I had been magically transformed  into something resembling a page from the catalog. At first glance, it wasn't all that bad. No. I didn't look quiet as voluptuous, but I passed. Then I hit the floor in a plank to see what gravity did to my mid-section and I was less than pleased. So I covered up and hit the gym wondering if while using the elliptical with the private knowledge that I was wearing a Victoria's Secret's sports bra I would be inspired to smolder as I moved up and down on the machine. I wondered if my ponytail might have a bit more bounce and if I would develop a new sexy work-out pout.

None of the above.

God damn it Victoria's Secret! This is no different than the glittery red teddy I purchased in December! I was supposed to look like a sexy Christmas surprise. I ended up looking like I belonged in the cast of Disney on Ice. What gives? Why aren't your underwear working for me? Is it because I purchased the bras on clearance? Would they have been more effective had I paid full price? Please tell me, because I'll pay four times as much for a sports bra that makes me look like your cover model. Hell. I'll give you a kidney. Or my dog*.

Or perhaps I'll realize that you are bunch of liars. Perhaps I'll watch a video on Buzzfeed that illustrates the power of Photoshop. I'll remember  that your models were digitally corrected to make them flawless, their lines, folds, and inches magically erased. I'll tell my self that I am more than a skeleton in panties, figure out that when I exercise  it is for me, not for a camera, or anyone's approval.

Screw you Victoria's Secret. Screw you for making so many of us feel inadequate , undesirable and imperfect.  And shame on me for buying into it.

*My dog is old. I don't really like her. It doesn't really count.

Looking good right?

And then you see her. Tell me they didn't "erase" a few inches from her waste...


  1. I think you look amazing. But yes, damn them.

  2. Well first, you look awesome. And I'm not just saying that in some, "Awww! You look great! Don't worry!" kind of way. You actually look awesome. Second, this is one reason why I don't look at this crap. Or let the girl (or boy) look at this crap. It warps your brain and that's exactly what they want. These are not regular humans. They're dolls. And it frankly pisses me off that we're perpetuating it as an ideal for anyone.

  3. I have my share of body dysmorphia too (though my body tends towards fat rather than thin) and, since I know I can't see what's in the mirror accurately, I try not to gaze overlong, so to speak. I can see my image incorrectly about 10 times in 10 minutes so I go by other things: knowing my food is appropriate, knowing I'm doing exercise I love, knowing I'm healthy.