The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was Nov. 10, but you probably already knew that with the constant coverage leading up to, during and after the event. And while I, like many, trolled the Internet looking at all the ridiculous costumes and intricate wings worn by the models, something caught my specific interest, and it wasn’t the Fantasy Bra. In TMZ’s coverage of the event, a cameraman went around backstage asking the models about what they would eat after the show was over, probing them for any specific cravings they had abstained from in the weeks leading up to the show. If you know anything about Victoria’s Secret models, you know that the weeks leading up to the runway are hectic and hyper. The models all post excited #tbts from shows prior as well as video clips of their intense workouts with #trainlikeanangel. And though we all know that most runway models are indeed skinny, and the Victoria’s Secret models are especially marketed as the ideal of fitness, the cameraman’s implication that the models purged themselves of any real food leading up to the event only further supports the idea that female beauty is in one form: thin. Even worse, it implies that it can only be achieved in one way: hunger.
Through his questioning, the cameraman conformed to idiotic beauty standards that one model, when asked, would not tolerate. Magdalena Frackowiak shut down the reporter after telling him to ask better questions, saying, “you make me look like an idiot … it seems like I’m starving myself and I can’t wait for the show to end to eat.”
While other models answered with the typical responses, ice cream and pizza, Frackowiak stood up for the fact that she eats regularly and a runway show that night is no reason not to eat that day. Here the model rejects the idea that models, the depiction of commercialized beauty, should starve themselves, thereby working to combat the glorification of eating disorders that the cameraman seems to promote. The cameraman, by asking what the models would eat, insinuates that they don’t eat.
The cameraman’s ill-worded question, however, did raise an issue I think Victoria’s Secret fails to recognize: all of its models are very thin. Though I understand that the trend on the runway is to have skinny models, I wish that Victoria’s Secret understood that its demographic speaks to a larger scope of women than that. I am in no way shaming the bodies of the models, or suggesting that their physique in attained in an unhealthy manner, but I am saying the models of Victoria’s Secret only represent a small variation of sexy, and their fitness and nutrition plans only offer a limited means of achieving sexy.
With that being said, I too, like the cameraman, would not be surprised if there were unhealthy means involved in the models maintaining their figures because of the rigid standards set by the fashion industry. What the fashion industry, and to a large degree Victoria’s Secret, fails to understand, however, is that sexy is not the body of a woman but the embodiment of a woman. On the runway, especially Victoria’s Secret’s runway, the women all look a certain way and have a very similar frame. This is irresponsible of the company because sexy is never one specific look, in fact, its not any “look.” It is a frame of mind. With that being said, there is no reason not to include models of all shapes with the same confident sexiness. Perhaps the PR people of Victoria’s Secret do understand that they cater to a small audience, and choose to make their line body-elitist anyway. Consciously or unconsciously done, though, the typical model body type needs to be broadened.