Where do I begin? Tonight I was informed that Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was going to be on TV.  I never really knew what it was but I had heard about it; I guess it’s a pretty big deal.  As I was sitting in my dorm room, everyone else had it on their TV’s too, as if it were a Packer game.  Everyone was raging on Facebook saying how excited they were.  So, instead of viewing a movie, I decided to watch the show to wrap up my blogs about gender roles and stereotypes in shows and movies.I love modeling (although I definitely don’t do it, haha) and am extremely addicted to America’s Next Top Model, so I can appreciate what the girls were going through on that stage tonight. However, if I were to point out the gender roles expressed on the show, it makes it harder to appreciate.  First off, the girls are (obviously) wearing almost nothing, with the most covering clothing being a VERY push-up, push-up bra and skimpy underwear. Secondly, they are to make a pose at the end of the runway, which generally entails a very flirtatious and provocative facial expression. Plus, these girls are strutting down that runway in skyscraper heels, I swear! Gotta give ‘em a little credit for that, haha. 

So, men and women alike all over America had free access to what could be considered very inappropriate images.  Some of these girls were barely 20 years old, making me feel a little uncomfortable since there were a few younger than me (which seems crazy… mostly because I think I would too young for that kind of thing).  My point is this: the show began at 9 and aired on CBS— what about little kids? I never went to bed until it was about 11 each night since I was in about 4th grade, and I know I’m not the only kid who did that.  So we’ve got a bunch of possible 8 year olds watching these girls as either their role-models for who they want to be or for who they want to date. Great.

Here's a much more conservative picture... wait, aren't they trying to sell bras or underwear... or anything people can buy at the store? Hmm...

This leads me to my next point.  During some of the breaks, commercials were played that showed interviews of the Angels (the models in the show that represent Victoria’s Secret).  They showed them in the famous “pink robes” that were opened enough to see the push-up bras and far more chest than anyone under the age of 18 should be seeing.  What struck me as funny was that they were trying to relate to young girls and families by talking about dreaming big, the way they grew up, and how they got to where they are now.  I found this a bit demeaning to the girls and to girls like myself. Could they not have expressed their dreams and talked about their childhoods while fully clothed? Hmm…

One of the Angels in the famous "pink robe"

During other commercial breaks, it was very clear that the intended audience of the show was for men. I found it a little humorous how obvious they made that; I’d thought they’d balance the product placement a little better.  There were continuous commercials about action shows, and about buying something from Vicky’s for your girlfriend since it is the greatest Christmas gift (I thought that was funny because I bet a lot of people actually will now). There were a few “girly” commercials about body lotion and whatnot, but I found the more dominantly male audience insinuation to be stronger. This tells me that the people in charge of the show thought men all over would want to freely ogle at these women, so they catered the commercials to them.

Finally, I saw what was on Facebook after the event. The results were shocking to me.  There were at least 50 posts about the show, probably half female and half male.  The female portion was literally saying things like “Oh, never eating again” and “Getting a gym membership on Thursday!” and “I wish I had a nice body.”  The male half was saying “Looks like I found a taste in fashion tonight” and “Women have the twilight movies, men have the Victoria’s secret fashion show.”  I found that this very much solidified the stereotypes of men and women; women want to be pretty and skinny, and will do almost anything to get to that point, while men want to look at women as freely as they please.  It was really sad to see all the girls posting about how fat they were and whatnot. The show seemed to instigate this universal feeling of unhappiness within the girls; they’re supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous, stick-skinny, toned, tan, tall, and able to walk in 30 inch heels to appear beautiful to men.  Overall, I actually enjoyed the show, because like I said, I can appreciate it. However, I do wish that some things could be tweaked in order to make it less stereotypical and less available to young audiences.

I didn’t post any of the show on here due to the fact that some people might find within it a slight level of inappropriateness, but I’m sure it can be found on Youtube or elsewhere if you are interested!

 

Written by: Molly Farley