Their Responsibility to Women

Oh Victoria’s Secret, the largest lingerie store, whose name almost always pops up in every movie, or book that mentions bras or panties. It’s the store that has grown so large that is known by just about everyone. I would say that everything they have there is gorgeous, is of high quality, and has a classy look, but that doesn’t mean I agree with their entire brand. As a nineteen-year-old woman, walking into Victoria’s Secret is one of the most intimidating things ever. The books and movies make it look sexy, exploratory, and fun, but honestly that is the furthest thing from the truth. Bra shopping as it is can be stressful and irritating, but walking into Victoria’s Secret is a whole other level of stress.

When I go bra shopping I make sure I know what my bra size is, and for every other store my size stays the same. This is not necessarily the case when I walk into Victoria’s Secret. Their sizes are completely different from stores like Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, Marshals, JC Penney, or Macy’s. Where I am a 34 B in those stores, I somehow become a 34 C in Victoria’s Secret. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but then the bra that I try on there is actually a size smaller than the one I wear. That’s when I begin to question whether I am actually a 34 B, maybe I imagined it. Maybe I’m a 34 D. But wait, my breasts are smaller than my girlfriend who is a 34 D. But the 34 C and the 34 B bras don’t fit me. What on earth is my size? I end up having to follow the sales clerk around all over the store and none of the bras seem to fit quite right. Many would say that I should take the bra that fits as best as possible and just go, but here’s the thing, if I am going to buy a high quality bra that is more than $30 then I want it to fit properly. Also, bras are not a t-shirt that will shrink or stretch. They are items that you want to fit right the first time, that way you aren’t in public trying to adjust yourself because either your breasts are hanging out or you can’t breathe.

For those of you who caught the $30 price and think I am joking, then I must tell you that I am not. High quality is not cheap, which makes sense, but in that price I want to pay for only the quality not the brand name. In reality, $15 of that $30 is probably for the brand name, while the other $15 is for the quality. Though all of my friends and I can agree that Victoria’s Secret sells very good quality bras, we can all also agree that the prices are just way too high sometimes. But this is true for all retail sellers that sell bras and panties. I will never understand why such necessities are so pricy. Society not only insists we wear bras and panties, but then has the nerve to hike the price up that many women cannot afford them! It’s a basic necessity that women need, therefore I don’t think they should be priced so high in ANY store. Victoria’s Secret sets the standard, and I believe if they come down in their prices so will their competitors and other stores.

Aside from the sizing and pricing, there is the fact that the store itself is very intimidating. You’re surrounded by half-naked, gorgeously sexy.

women who are modeling amazing lingerie. It’s very overwhelming, and I feel like a little girl asking the sales clerk for help when I’m looking for a plain t-shirt bra. How unsexy is that? Victoria’s Secret markets sexy, it’s what sells, but they don’t seem to understand that many women just want to buy a bra that lasts more than two years. The quality of the merchandise is perfect, so it would make sense that every few years I’d stop by to pick up a couple bras and panties that will last me a few years. However, for whatever reason every time I walk into the store I feel as though I have to buy something sexy with lace, silk, or satin or else I appear like a baby. In addition to that, when I try on the lingerie I feel like a total dork compared to the gorgeous model who is on the back of the changing room door.

It’s even more uncomfortable when the store doesn’t exactly cater to your size. Many women don’t have model figures, because we all come in different beautiful shapes and sizes. You wouldn’t know whether Victoria’s Secret sells lingerie for plus sized women, or women slightly over the weight limit of a model. Why? Because all of their models appear to be the same exact size. That may not be true in reality, but photo shop is a photo editor’s favorite tool. If Victoria’s Secret truly wants to be the biggest, well respected, and liked lingerie store they need to start marketing to all women. I love watching Lane Bryant commercials that celebrates body diversity compared to the Victoria’s Secret ads that I see. Lane Bryant doesn’t just use women of all sizes and shapes, they also use models and actresses of different skin colors. Sure Victoria’s Secret has models for African Origin or possess a slightly darker shade of skin, but you don’t see models that are dark skinned. Furthermore, the hair of all the models are long and flow, or short and flow, but not one of them have curly hair. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but this what today we define as beautiful. If we exclude women of dark color, of curly hair, of various sizes then we are indirectly saying they are not beautiful, when that is not true at all.

In today’s day and age teenage girls, and young women need to be empowered when watching ads for panties and bras, because those are items that define them. They need to be able to identify with the models on TV. The need to see their body shape in them, see their skin tone in them, see their hair in them, see their confidence in them. Body Diversity is what sells, not the same shape, same or similar skin tone, or same or similar hair type. As the largest seller of lingerie, this company is the prime of example of using the body to sell products. And as the largest seller, they are the ones who define what is deemed “beautiful”, so they have a responsibility to all women to show that everyone is beautiful no matter their shape, size, or color. I believe that in order for Victoria’s Secret to truly succeed or be respected they must take on this responsibility, and help change our capitalist society’s view that there is only certain people that can be deemed “beautiful”. They also have the responsibility of showing that all women should be able to afford bras, panties, and possibly even sexy lingerie.

I will not be watching the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, but I do know that I admire the fact that they are the only store that has made such a big name for themselves just by catering to women. I just hope that they will make amends and set the stage for a much needed change in the definition of “beauty” and “affordability”.