Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Victoria's Secret mocks the "love your body" movement

First and foremost, I would like every person to love hir own body, whether it conforms to a cultural standard of "good" or not. Loving your own body is inter-connected with mindfulness and self-love--something we all need.

That being said, the "love your body movement" did not emerge from the "tens," "dimes," runway models, or otherwise culturally idealized figures. Rather, the movement gained momentum in response to unrealistic and largely destructive images of [particularly] women, but also men, portrayed top-down from the media, and perpetuated bottom-up through cultural compliance and self-regulation.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, see create your own positive images for women, love yourself through thick and thin, Love Your Body! Project, and Love Your Body Day. If that isn't enough, a simple google search will reveal pages and pages of resources.

Enter the Victoria's Secret "I Love My Body Campaign." It has been really hard for me to gather my thoughts, namely because this is so offensive and shocking to me. This catalog has been sitting on my counter angering me for over a week (not to mention, why is this even coming to my apartment?).

Let me try and recap. VS is co-opting the language of the body-acceptance movement, and superimposing it over a culturally praised figure that represents somewhere around 1% of the population--and is likely used as "thinspiration" on pro-ana/pro-mia sites all over the internet. Not to mention, the model on the cover is a member of an industry riddled with eating disorders, disordered eating, and/or drug abuse.

I can cope [not happily, but cope] with the fact that VS is not interested in using models that represent the range of what healthy female bodies may look like--a range including bodies that young girls can relate to, that young girls can feel empowered by. But this infuriates me. Leave our movement alone.

If my readers need a refresher on images that represent the "love your body" movement, recall a recent photo from Glamour, or visit an older post of mine, Fat Rolls and Roll Models.

If you have ever struggled with body image issues, supported friends and family with body image issues, or counseled teenagers, college students or adults--you know the grueling effort this movement demands. You know how truly painful, difficult, and scary these issues really are. And you know that it is about something deeper than the body; it's about self-love and self-worth.

I am truly disappointed in Victoria's Secret for stooping to a new low. If you would like to send VS your thoughts, please do so here.

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