What woman hasn't bought into the Victoria's Secret fantasy?
It generally begins when we're teenagers and we head to VS for our first pair of racy panties, which we stash in the backs of our underwear drawers.
Over the years, we amass a nice little collection of Victoria's Secret Super Duper Miracle Bras and Plunging Push Up Spectacular Bras and Supremely Sexy Thongs and maybe even an Insanely Hot Lace Babydoll Teddy.
Some of us choose our items online, gazing at the Victoria's Secret models and their perfectly airbrushed bodies, imagining in the backs of our minds that we'll look sort of maybe a little bit the same way, if we can only find just the right bustier and G-string set.
But reading in The New York Times this morning just what it takes to be a Victoria's Secret Angel, I was left feeling a little sad, both for the models and for the millions of women buying into the unrealistic fantasy they've created.
The writer got to sit in on the annual Victoria's Secret casting call for new Angels. There, some of the world's top supermodels donned skimpy bra and panty sets and platform heels to strut their stuff for a group of executives, who admitted that very few women have what it takes to be an Angel. According to The New York Times:
“What people don’t realize is that they’re rarer by far than superstar athletes,” [Edward] Razek said of women who fit precise but unwritten physical parameters for becoming a Victoria’s Secret angel. “The numbers of people who can do this are probably under 100 in the world,” Mr. Razek said. “And in the show it’s only 30 girls.” (Actually, there are 33 this year.)
As it turns out, the reason these girls are rare has as much to do with their punishing lifestyle as it does genetics. From the article:
The model Angela Lindvall, another occasional angel, at a certain point compared her particular line of work with that of a boxer. “You have to make weight,” she said. Ms. Lindvall herself once shed 20 postpregnancy pounds to make angel weight by jumping rope and subsisting on nothing but spinach, chard, and kale.
The fitness horizon for a model preparing to audition for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is perhaps 12 weeks, said Justin Gelband, a personal fitness trainer known in the business as the Model Whisperer. “We’ve been killing ourselves for this show,” Mr. Gelband explained.
I'm all for fitness, but is physically "killing yourself" in combination with a starvation diet really in the best interest of any woman?
Also, these "Angels" are selling us clothing designed to make us feel better about ourselves. Since 99.9% of women would neither spend hours in the gym per day nor subsist on a diet of spinach, chard, and kale, why are executives choosing models who do?
More importantly, why are we buying into it?
How ridiculous and sad is it that our idea of "ultimate physical perfection" can only be found in the bodies of women who work out for hours on end and eat next to nothing?
Perhaps Victoria's Secret should consider calling its cadre of elite models "Devils." Because after reading this article, that's how I'm starting to think of them -- particularly now that I have a daughter who may very well see these women in catalogs one day and imagine that she should aspire to look like them, too.
Image via Victoria's Secret