Sunday, July 22, 2007

Victoria's Ugly Secret

The ad that I have chosen to critique for this weekend's blog entry comes from the store Victoria's Secret, which most know is in the business of selling mainly lingerie. The pages of their catalogues are filled with half-dressed women displaying beautiful lacy bras that promise cleavage and panty-line-free thong underwear. Usually the models that I have seen in these particular ads have been well known models that ooze a certain amount of confidence that projects off of their catalogue pages. What I see in this ad is a young girl who actually seems to be exploited more than anything else. I almost want to compare this ad to a very sad pornographic film where all you want to do is creep into the television and save the young women from the fate of the movie. The big bad Victoria's Secret company usually uses a number of top ten supermodels to prominently display their goods. Here's the exception though... with this particular target audience being younger than usual (16-18), they have instead chosen an unknown and frail teenager to sell their sex to other young girls who don't know any better.

Let me introduce you to the ad. This is V.S.'s new "Sleep & Lounge" sweats line and what we have here is our model showcasing a number of items from their active and lounge wear. This girl appears to be starting college and is in what looks to be her college dorm room- wearing a sweatshirt that says 'Pink University' and some message shorts displaying 'Phi Beta Pink' across her rear-end. I believe that in this ad she's supposed to represent very young women across the country beginning school this fall. This company is using this girl's sex appeal to sell these products (although I see absolutely no sex appeal emminating from her thin frame, all I want to do is feed her a sandwich).

I believe that this ad is ABSOLUTELY offensive to women and especially young girls. Women around the age of 18 are most vulnerable as they leave high school and enter college. It's the time in their lives where they are trying to figure out who they are as people, and exploring the world (usually) on their own for the first time. So, when I ran across this ad on their website, I was absolutey horrified! Why are they using such an obviously under-weight model to sell these clothes when they know that their audience is susceptible girls and women? Are they trying to say that this is how you are supposed to look as a young adult? Let me say that what I don't see in this ad is even a hint of sexiness. I believe that this company is masking it's real message to women. The message that you are supposed to see at first glance is that Victoria's Secret clothing makes women sexy. However, subconciously they want women to see this image and have it play into their physical insecurities. The adjectives I would use to describe this ad are these exactly: naive, young, submissive, weak, and to be taken advantage of. I never see any men portrayed in this light when looking at advertisements, and I'm unsure why this company would like to showcase these negative images as an example for girls and women.

This ad is absolutely anti-feminist. What's upsetting is Victoria's Secret could sell as many products with ads that promote women empowerment and strength. Instead, at least in this particular series of ads, they are subconciously encouraging weakness. These are the exact kinds of ads that affect and distort the body images that women see of themselves. They are instilling in people the belief that this is what the world finds sexy and appealing. That if you do not fit this mold, you don't fit into the society that Victoria's Secret deems beautiful. Victoria's Secret is a company that serves solely women. Why, then, is it not promoting healthy images for their customers? What are they gaining in promoting weakness to their clients? Women have a responsibility to show companies like Victoria's Secret that we will not tolerate this display and portrayal of women as presented in the ad above!

Posted by: Marisa Aguilera-Wells


Women's Studies 200 Class said...

Not only is this ad offensive, with the shot focusing on her behind and her underwear are showing, SHE IS SUPER SKINNY! Wow, she is skinny and I find that offensive because I hardly see the average girl looking that thin. Vicky's Secret needs to get a grip.

Women's Studies 200 Class said...

Of course they want women to look at the ad and see all their own "flaws." Then women are supposed to think "oh but if I buy [whatever] from VS, I will be sexy and all my flaws will be hidden/disappear." This doesn't actually happen, so then women have to go buy something new from VS to try once again to hide their "flaws."

~Samantha Powers