Remember the recent Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? Yeah, a lot of people—myself included—were disappointed with the lack of diversity in the model lineup. Sure, they are able to have representation for different races but in terms of size, they are very much lacking.
Because of the backlash they were receiving, they now have a new angle that some actually consider plus size. Representing Hungary is Barbara Palvin. You’ve probably already seen her on Victoria’s Secret runway show, but now she is officially one of their Angels.
As happy as we are for her for reaching her dream, we are less excited by some of the comments. Some praised the brand for being more inclusive and adding a model to their roster who doesn’t look “sick.” I think their perception of her addition is a bit skewed. Now, according to news sites, Barbara weighs around 121 lbs and still fits within a size 2 or 4. However, plus sizes usually start at size 16 or 18. Now, the brand never mentioned her as plus size, but that is what people perceive and it is so wrong on different levels.
First, we shouldn’t be commending Victoria’s Secret for this. They didn’t do anything remotely close to being more inclusive. Sure, Barbara looks different than their usual models but not so far off. Second, this also shows how society views women’s bodies. The unrealistic expectations are so real and I’m sick and tired of them. Lastly, if they truly wanted to be more inclusive and listen to their audience, they would have cast a different model. There are so many models out there, all they had to do was research and reach out to them. Again, this is not to take away from Barbara’s achievement.
Reading through the comments again, I also came across people who agreed with my point of view. They acknowledged that Barbara was different but also pointed out that the brand could have done more, and they should. Why? Well, people are starting to call them out.
According to Shape, a few weeks ago, VS announced that they will be closing down 53 stores after their sales dropped by 7 percent in the last quarter. “This steep decline was a direct result of the brand refusing to listen to customers to include more bra sizes and feature more diverse and inclusive models in their campaigns.” They’re starting to feel the heat but their action plans are falling short.
With everything that has happened to them, do you think they can come back? I mean, anything is possible but they have to act fast and smart. But more than that, their intentions have to be right. It has to be more than just making money, they have to change to benefit possible consumers. They have to understand the sort of of impact they can have if they start to include other types of women in their line up. If they do end up sticking to their old ways, I don’t see the brand lasting very long. Why support them when there are other labels out there that cater to a bigger market, let’s focus on them instead.
Art by Marian Hukom
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