In November of last year, the multi-billion dollar lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret came under fire after blatant fatphobia and transphobia. When asked why Victoria’s Secret does not include transgender or plus-size models in their annual televised fashion show, the company’s chief marketing officer Ed Razek stated, “No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy… We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
According to Razek, plus-size women cannot be sexy and fulfill the “fantasy” Victoria’s Secret is trying to promote, even though the company still sells bras up to size DDD. Victoria’s Secret will take the money of plus-size women, even though it doesn’t respect them.
In order to combat the global outcry against the brand’s lack of inclusivity, Victoria’s Secret recently started a body positive campaign titled “#loveyourself” with British lingerie firm Bluebella. The new project features a single plus-size model, Ali Tate Cutler. Cutler is a size-14–over ⅔ of American women are a size-14 or above.
This is the first problem; size-14 should not be considered “plus-size” when it accounts for the majority of women in America. The term “plus-size” indicates a deviance from the norm, making women think they are larger than the rest of the population, when they are actually average.
However, the worst offense is that Victoria’s Secret is taking all the credit. Cutler said, “I feel like they [Victoria’s Secret] are headed in the right direction and they are listening to their audience who have requested to see more women of diverse shapes and sizes,” and other publications have praised the company for the #loveyourself campaign. The problem is Cutler is not actually employed by Victoria’s Secret, but by Bluebella.
Victoria’s Secret, with its well-known history of putting women down because of their weight, needs to do more to contribute to the body positive movement than work with a single plus-size model they did not even hire.