We all know that Victoria’s Secret ads are nipped, tucked and photoshopped to the max, but even so, it is difficult to get those images out of our minds as being the definitions of what makes women sexy or beautiful. Where their legs are perfectly smooth, we see ours ripple in the mirror; where their skin is glowing, we see blotchiness; where their breasts are gravitationally immune, we see ours slowly descending downward. As a result of these unrealistic, oft-unattainable standards, a group named About-Face held a semi-naked protest infront of a San Francisco Victoria’s Secret.
The group wanted to pull attention toward the necessity for body diversity, and to prove that they are proud of their bodies despite being perpetually told not to be (unless they change ’em, of course). Said About-Face Executive Director Jennifer Berger:
“Not everybody needs to be like that in order to be attractive, in order to be awesome in general. And we really wanted to speak out against that whole, that whole piece of it. You know, all the people here really like the way that they look.”
They call the operation “Operation Real Bodies Real Love,” a name I’m admittedly only half fond of (generally speaking, you have to have a “real body” in order to model and it feels a little thin-shaming to insinuate that they’re somehow fake). Then again, if you retouch a body enough, can the version represented in the advertisement still be considered “real”?
Regardless, the very good point is there: women need to see models who are diverse in shape and represent all sorts of figures to adequately show how all those body types wear clothes. Should there be thin models? Yes, because there are thin women in the world. Should there be overweight models? Yes, because there are overweight women. Should there be people somewhere near a size 10/12 who are approximately 5’7″ and have big hips? Yes, because FFS, I need somebody to show me whether or not every skirt I think of buying online will be ridiculously short on me.