31st October 2014

Oh Sod Off Victoria’s Secret

20140918-cp-bra-bbv-header-1-v2This advert by Victoria’s Secret is stupid.

It’s the word PERFECT that makes me want to throw my coffee across the room in a fit of anger. The word is tricky anyway, because what is perfect for me, might not be perfect for you. And when we start to consider what is perfect for everyone else too, our minds get blown.

So is there really such a thing as a ‘perfect body’? No Victoria’s Secret, there is not. But all I can say, is that this is perfect for me…

The body that grew a human, right from a sperm and an egg that met up and said ‘hey, fancy making a human together?‘ The tummy that grew, slowly at first as I tried desperately to see a bump and photograph it in the mirror when it wasn’t really there, and then quicker as the weeks went on, stretching my skin so tight that I spent hours stroking oil over the skin. The muscle aches, the back pain, the heartburn, the desperate need for a wee (especially when there were no toilets nearby). The body that gave birth, pushing an actual real human being out of a hole that really shouldn’t fit an actual real human being. The body that healed quickly so I could scoop my toddler up after a few nights away, but told a story of pregnancy for many months afterwards. And the body that allowed me to feed my baby so he grew the huge squidgy thighs he now possesses.

This body is not like those bodies in the Victoria Secret advert. Not like it at all. The tummy is too rounded from growing my babies, the skin is too white as I have no time to fake tan or sit by the pool, and the width – well let’s just say one of their thighs is akin to one of my ankles. So does that mean it isn’t perfect? Balls to that. When I look at my boys, I realise that it did something so very perfectly.

So sod off Victoria’s Secret. This is ‘perfect’ to me.

But it’s about more than just hurting my feelings, isn’t it. It’s about the girls that will grow up thinking that is what they should aspire to be like, the boys that will see the advert with the word PERFECT scrawled across it and think that is what their girlfriends and wives should look like. It’s about the ladies that have fought diseases and have bodies that tell the tale. It’s about the ladies that never stood from birth, the ladies with disabilities, the ladies who never were going to fit into the supermodel mould and have worked much harder in their lives than a supermodel on a treadmill and low-calorie diet.

And it’s about the reality. That there are 3.5 billion women walking this earth and only a few of them supermodels.  In the USA, where Victoria’s Secret hails from, the average female dress size is 18 – and in the UK, the average size is 16. Healthy eating and healthy lifestyles are so important – but teaching young people to have healthy relationships with their size and shape is even more important. We need ‘perfection’ to be about happiness, good careers, and family – not about having a thigh gap.

And yes, I know what the advertising department of Victoria’s Secret will say to defend themselves – they will say that the message they wanted to convey it is their underwear that is perfect; that this new range of bras are the tool to get the bodies like those in the advert. But that is not what a 16-year girl would see when she saw that billboard. And they know that, don’t they?

So on that note, I’m off to burn a few bras (Victoria’s Secret, natch).