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Monday, November 1, 2010

Dear Victoria's Secret, get your paws off my feminism

Alright.  Victoria's Secret has really outdone itself this time. 

It's bad enough that this corporation promotes narrow ideals of beauty and sexiness that have horrible consequences on girls' and women's self-esteem, self-image, and co-ed relationship expectations.  But, in recent years, they've gotten hip to the fact that lots of us are sick of our bodies being chopped into scrutinizable bits by ads, and they've begun co-opting our media literacy efforts.  


First they featured the "Love Your Body" ad campaign, which twisted the Dove and other non-profit messaging intended to help women love their bodies and see themselves *apart* from commercial standards.  Now, they're touting the "Incredible" bra, which is advertised with a play on 70's bra-burning feminism: "Burn my old bra! This one's incredible!"  They may as well say, "Burn that old-fart, unappetizing sexism!  The coy, submissive woman is back!"

These 'clever' marketing techniques not only confuse public awareness while they poke fun and delegimitize the serious public health issues involved in low body image and sexism, but they go one step further in reaffirming and promoting the oppressive norms bra burning and self-acceptance initiatives try to combat.

I'm tired of living in a culture where women are taught to compare themselves to each other, to be jealous and competitive over men, and to never feel perfect or deserving enough to inhabit themselves fully.  I'm tired of living in a culture where women feel they must be like porn stars to make male partners happy, where the freedom to be sexually active has been usurped by the same old corporate interests, and male-pleasing, porn-performance promiscuity inserted where empowered fulfillment and true intimacy ought to be.  It's hard enough to get out a message celebrating uniqueness and real, personal beauty over the din of dollars and cents accumulating, without that same commercial monster using my cause...for their own profit, yet again.  Way to add insult to injury!

My panties certainly ARE in a wad.  Hm.  Maybe that'll be their next tagline.