Why The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Is Damaging To A Woman's Psyche

by Veronica Granja-Sierra

Every year, the Victoria’s Secret angels fall from heaven and parade around in nothing more than bras and underwear with their unthinkably long legs, thin waists, yet surprisingly large breasts, for the annual broadcast of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

In other words, these angels strut down the runway as the women stare in awe…and the men drool, of course.

This year’s show is set to air on CBS tonight, December 10, with performers including Fallout Boy, Neon Jungle and country/pop icon, Taylor Swift.

But as the show attracts hundreds of celebrities and entertainers, with special performances and acts every year, it leaves women questioning what "perfection" really is.

As women everywhere watch the annual show, transfixed by these gorgeous models, they can’t help but wonder, “Why can’t I look like that?”  Women tend to compare their bodies to the visually flawless figures of the VS supermodels, which seem as though they hail from another planet with such uniform body types. By the end of the show, the self-esteem of female viewers is most likely out the door.

Victoria’s Secret models have been noted to represent women who embrace their sexuality and feel confident and sexy in their own skin. But the question we ponder is, why wouldn’t these women feel confident if they already do have the “perfect” bodies?

Although the show is made to showcase the lingerie collection and to sell the product, most of the outfits exhibited on the runway are extremely over the top and will not even be available for sale on store shelves.

Sales do increase around the Fashion Show airtime, however, as it is also the holiday season and lingerie is a popular gift. It is also undeniable that the show does tend to conjure up the idea amongst females that owning VS lingerie instills confidence and makes a woman feel sexier.

The show has many visually appealing aspects, like the eccentric costumes and new styles. I also believe women enjoy watching other women because we naturally compare ourselves to one another, whether it be healthy for our self-esteem or not.

Wearing Victoria’s Secret products perhaps satisfies women, making them feel one step closer to achieving that ‘angel’ look.

The problem here is that studies claim that women already feel pressured to be beautiful by the age of 14. By the time they are 29, that number increases to 90 percent. After the age of 14, girls increasingly become their own worst beauty critics.

The pressure to achieve an unrealistic body ideal is now the underlying cause of serious health issues. Most girls are left with mixed reactions to the images they are seeing on their television screens. Aside from comparing themselves to the models on TV, women feel even more pressure to attain that idealistic body image.

The toxic combination of the media, advertising and celebrity culture can account for almost three-quarters of the influence on body image in society, yet the body ideal typically presented is estimated to not even be physically attainable by nearly 95 percent of the population.

This pressure is damaging society by wreaking havoc on female self-esteem, coercing women into going on diets to change their body shape.

The models in the VS Fashion Show are virtually viewed as "sex objects," which is often alluring for women because they want other people to view them as that, as well.

Also, these models are portrayed as ethereal, goddess-like, out of this world and what some consider “perfect.”

It's an impossible measure that sensationalizes these models in order to build the fantasy for both men and women. Unfortunately, it also communicates an unhealthy image for girls to strive to emulate.

What we have to realize as viewers is that these supermodels should not be idolized. They are living out a career; they are selling products by wearing them. They are not providing society with role models to idolize, as much as many women do.

When we realize this, more young girls and women will acquire a healthy and positive body image and self-esteem, unmarked by dissatisfaction from comparing ourselves to one another.

Not many females in this world look like Victoria’s Secret models. Yes, these angels may be some of the most visually appealing women in the world, but each of us has beautiful qualities that make us unique.

Attractive outward appearance is a quality that is desired, but a woman should love herself for what she has, rather than dwelling on what she doesn’t.

Photo credit: WENN