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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.

1 comment:

  1. Julia, if you think Victoria's Secret has launched an onslaught to your feminism in a corporate, if not exploitative way, just think about how women in general are featured in less flattering ways from sex to soap…but as a male peeking willingly into pandora's box, I've reveled and revealed the joy of knowing that women can wear what is advertised without it really being a secret, if not seductive in tone and tenor, and certainly without it being demeaning. We (men) appreciate what is being offered, but it helps to know that women such as yourself would like not to be treated as 'porn stars' just to make us happy. I speak for myself and will always feel that I'd want to have more to the imagination than seeing it all just for Victoria to be secretive!