Give Those Girls A Donut…Please!

Photo: For all the young girls who dream of being a Victoria Secret Model.... Some much needed perspective.

Taken alone, the VS models seem almost normal.
In comparison, like scarecrows.

Oddly, they look like two different species, almost :}

Those are my friends’ verdicts on the “Victoria’s Secret: Love My Body” campaign as it faced off against its nemesis, “Dove: Real Beauty.”

Real beauty wins in my book.

In fact, I’ve long thought that VS models look a bit like aliens. The ones from “Close Encounters,” as the beings first come into skinny focus. (Hmm, close encounters — almost like a Freudian slip with the demand: look like this and have a close encounter!)

But skeletal is an acquired taste. If acquired at all. Unfortunately many do, complete with the glamorized “anorexic chic” look. Some girls do all they can to avoid eating in hopes of becoming “beautiful.”

Scary, when nourishment becomes the enemy.

Shows how far we can stray from evolutionary psych notions that we are attracted to healthy people.

Some choose not to promote the problem. Kylie Bisutti had beaten out 10,000 hopefuls in a Victoria’s Secret Model Search, and then quit. In part out of her Christian beliefs and in part because of a conversation she had with her 8-year-old cousin.

I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me. She looked at me and was like, ‘You know, I think I want to stop eating so I can look like you.’

It just broke my heart because she looks up to me and I didn’t want to be that type of person that she thought she had to be to be beautiful. Thousands of girls think that being beautiful is an outer issue and really it’s a heart issue.

Luckily, many men actually prefer women who are well-nourished. One man commented on the VS/Dove face-off, saying:

The women below look much prettier. I am skeptical as to whether the women in the first picture actually love their bodies, or themselves.

And I have to agree with another friend who said, “Give those girls a donut…please!”

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 6, 2012, in body image, feminism, gender, psychology, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I find women are quick to say “well VS models are NOT healthy, they’re anorexic”. This is wrong and extremely hurtful for women with this type of body. There’s no real label that you can put on beauty. It’s all in how you look at it.

    Both of these ads have issues. If dove were really displaying “real beauty” they would have showed women of ALL body types. That is including thin women, I know it’s hard to believe but there are when who really do look like the victoria’s secret models. I am a thin girl, and all my life I’ve wanted to gain weight, and like the dove campaign has probably done for many girls, the victoria’s secret campaign helped me learn to love my body.

    Also, you stated in one of your comments that it is “refreshing to have real women’s bodies being celebrated” does that mean that women with that type of body aren’t real women?

  2. Hahaha when I first saw the Victoria Secret picture I thought it was a spoof putting “I love my body campaign”, i’m rather shocked they would utilize this sort of marketing. For years this brand was and continues to value incredibly thin unhealthy women. These women don’t love their bodies, if they did they would eat properly. I hope models realize that their not only furthering their career by starving themselves, but make anorexia acceptable to the public. The cousin of the model mentioned in this article is only one face affected. Over the years I have seen my peers, siblings of friends, and even my grandmother stop eating to be thinner. I know many women are naturally smaller, its genetic, but it is no accident to put that many ultra thin women on a cover. Marketers are sending a message, thin is in.

  3. Seeing examples of what women really look like in the media is comforting. This Dove ad campaign has been out for a while and I really appreciate it. When it comes to advertising I think that no intention can be “pure” since they are, in fact, trying to sell you on a product. But that side of the argument aside, I still really do like the Dove ad campaign. My partner and I love their bar soaps (=

  4. I must admit if giving a choice I’d rather look like the VS models. I’ve always hated the way I look and no amount of compliments will ever change that fact. I don’t look like Barbie, or America’s Next Top Model and everyday I get a little bit older which scares the shit out of me. I’d like to say “Oh I just love looking like a real girl and think my thighs are just fantastic!” But that would be a lie. I always wanted to look like Barbie. That’s the truth. I never did have an eating disorder because I know even if I lost 20 lbs I STILL wouldn’t look like Barbie. So eating or not eating wasn’t an issue. If I grew up in a culture that didn’t have media I’d probably be better off.

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