Devil’s Advocate in Angel Wings
For years the beauty industry showcased only “the best of the best”. Women have had to look a certain way, have the “perfect” body, and most body types were not represented in the media. However, it appears as if a change has ensued within the industry. With numerous brands such as Thirdlove and Aerie making strides towards inclusion of all women, Victoria’s Secret continues to uphold their Type A standard. The brand stays stuck in the past while others adapt and shape themselves to be what America’s youth increasingly wants to see.
Victoria’s Secret hosts their annual fashion show featuring their iconic angel wings once every fall, location varying each year. Because the show was held in New York this year, reporter Nicole Phelps sat down to conduct an interview with Ed Razek and Monica Mitro, executives for Victoria’s Secret. The lingerie company has received backlash in recent days due to comments made by their Chief Marketing Officer and Casting Director, Ed Razek, in this interview with Vogue. Razek made it clear he believes that trans and plus size women should not walk the Victoria’s Secret runway. Razek believes that the company has a certain image to uphold and to stray from it would damage their “brand”.
Razek’s comments perfectly exemplify how aging men with aging views hold our society back. So many people today push for equality and representation, but they are equally met with those whose mindsets are stuck in the last century. It is evident to most that in order for our society to advance and improve, we cannot continue dated practices. Razek argues that the show depicts a fantasy and the body types of the models reflect that. Without delving into the crooked logic of excluding women because they do not have “fantasy” bodies, that argument does not make sense in today’s social climate. The most sought after body type is constantly changing and adapting to the times. This year the company welcomed 19 new models, not one coming close to plus size, as they made a point to say they did not want them in their show.
Victoria’s Secret not only actively excludes plus size women, but transgender women as well. Razek very clearly feels women that depict any other form than the ideal archetype of his time don’t deserve the same opportunities or respect. Trans people face adversity in most every aspect of their lives, and men like Razek perpetuate their poor treatment.
Change scares many people, and a fear of it often holds back advancement. It cannot be speculated whether Razek’s views occur due to fear of change or simply outdated misogyny. Either way Razek and those who share his views make girls and women around the globe feel unworthy if they do not look like the models Victoria’s Secret puts in their shows. They invalidate women, intentionally or not, who do not meet their “standard”, not to mention trans women.These comments made by Razek and many others before him unwittingly create the idea that in order for women to feel valid and beautiful they must meet this impossible beauty standard.
Admittedly, Razek did issue an apology for his statements but the damage has already been done. The backwards and exclusive practises demonstrated by Victoria’s Secret’s casting has angered women across the country and, based on Razek’s comments, it does not seem like we will see very much diversity any time soon. One must be ever-changing in order to keep up with an ever-changing market that constantly evolves to best portray the desires of the public. Because of this, we see more and more women opt for brands that openly and proudly represent their body types. It seems that if Victoria’s Secret does not adapt soon smaller brands may take their place.