Rather be a Victoria’s Secret Angel or You?

  1. L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade Culinary EventPlayboy wanted to know how average-looking Lena Dunham, the award-winning producer, director, writer and star of HBO’s Girls, would feel if she woke up in the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Not so great, said Dunham, who frequently appeared nude on her show.

I don’t think I’d like it very much. There would be all kinds of weird challenges to deal with that I don’t have to deal with now. I don’t want to go through life wondering if people are talking to me because I have a big rack. Not being the babest person in the world creates a nice barrier. The people who talk to you are the people who are interested in you. It must be a big burden in some ways to look that way and be in public.

Looking like a Victoria’s Secret Angel instead of me. I can see the upside. Women are hugely judged by their looks so in an Angel-body I’d land at the top of the pack. How nice. And I could have any guy.

But studies show a downside. Plain women are more likely to get a job interview, for instance. Maybe they seem less sex objecty and more brainy. The beautiful are also believed to be more conforming and self-promoting.

Or, therapist, Mary Pipher wrote in her bestselling Reviving Ophelia that,

Girls who are too attractive are seen primarily as sex objects. Their appearance overdetermines their identity. They know that boys like to be seen with them, but they doubt that they are liked for reasons other than their packaging.

Michael Kimmel, a sociology professor who studies men, says some guys are more interested in bragging to other guys that they nailed a beautiful girl than in having sex with her. Other guys entirely miss seeing the girl because they’re obsessed with her body.

And then there’s this: A lot of guys thought Dunham’s response was B.S. But in a Slate comment thread one woman wrote,

You think you’d be happier if you were better-looking, but would you feel the same way if you were in prison? You don’t associate being attractive with any sort of threat, but for women it can be.

On a more mundane note, it’d also take a lot of time, work, starvation and calorie-counting to keep up that body when you could be doing other stuff. Healthy is good, “perfect” takes too much time and surgery.

Related Posts 
How to Look Like a Victoria’s Secret Angel
Celebs Less Weight-Conscious
Believe You’re Beautiful – Others Will, Too

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 December 3, 2018, in body image and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 57 Comments.

  1. The blog, Rather be a Victoria’s Secret Angel or you, starts off by asking a producer, Lena Dunham if one day she woke up in a victoria secret angel body, how would she feel? Her answer was that she would not feel very good. Her argument is that it would be a huge load to carry. Trying to be attractive take a lot of energy and it is not something she wants to devote her time in. The blog then talks about how women who are more attractive are portrayed as less smart. Also, this blog states that men just date women who are hot because they want to show them off to other men. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with this. I have met attractive, beautiful, women that are very intelligent. I’ve also met a lot of women who wish they had those bodies but they are just not willing to sacrifice overeating or they simply don’t want to work out. Also, some women prefer to devote their time elsewhere. For example, watch tv, sit around and eat junk food, etc. Ugly doesn’t necessarily mean intelligent and hot/beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean dumb. Also, I have met many women who only date attractive intelligent men to show them off to other girls. So, I think it can go both ways. I don’t necessarily think it is ok. As a tall skinny woman, I like who I am and how I look. I don’t starve my self. I think I eat and work out the right amount. I do limit the amount of junk food I eat. I also notice that when I overeat or eat junk food I feel sluggish and get acne therefore, I limit the amount. If I was given the chance, I probably would not become a Victoria Secret model. However, my reasons are not because of the appearance or because these women have a certain stereotype but because of the nudity. I don’t think I would like my parents to see me model underwear. Just be who you are. I think trying to be someone you’re not will only make you miserable. I do enjoy reading your blogs. They are fun and interesting. Thank you 🙂

  2. Rather be a Victoria’s Secret Angel or You?

    In our society women that are drop-dead gorgeous and emulate the look of Victoria’s Secret model do initially capture the attention of men. However, beauty fades and men know this fact to be true. A beautiful face and body can only captivate men temporarily unless they have more to offer than a fantasy come true and bragging rights to their friends.

    It’s questions like the one proposed to Lena Dunham that will make a woman with low self-esteem feel like she is inadequate because she doesn’t fit the stereotype of American beauty. I love that she responded to this question and represented for all the women in the world that have no desire to replicate the look of a model or maintain the image for men that are shallow and can’t see the beauty that is in all varieties of women. Moreover, you can be an average woman and still be just as remarkable, intelligent, and successful in life without your beauty being the reason for your achievements.

    On the contrary, more and more women are coming to terms that their natural beauty, intelligence, and self-acceptance is quite attractive and contagious to men and empower other women to accept themselves for who they are. I am a huge advocate for recognizing that true beauty exudes from the inside out. What makes a woman beautiful is not just her looks! It’s also her ability to understand her value, strength, and purpose regardless of her figure and features. I’d rather be me because I’m my kind of beautiful, successful, happy, and priceless for being exactly who I am.

    • Once a man gets past the question of how beautiful a woman is, the next items on the agenda are how she is in bed and whether she can make a sandwich.

  3. I think everybody is a Victoria secret model I think everyone is pretty in their own ways and we all need to knowledge that and let everyone know they don’t need to wear makeup nice and expensive clothes to be pretty body needs to be a size 1 in order to look or feel beautiful but sadly this is the world we live in. Nowadays guys think unless we are a size 1 we are t worth talking to which is really bad and disappointing of how things have turned a toll to but we need to start encouraging girls to embrace their natural beauty.

  4. I agree with Lena Dunham, I would not be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. They work hard to get their bodies in the right shape but I on the other hand don’t have their tenacity. I work out on and off but I never have a set schedule and will always put off working out but what always gets me is diets. I can’t do diets, I think if I workout then I should be able to eat whatever I want to, not be restricted. Their is a good side to being a Victoria’s Secret Angel such as the attention they get, all the attention would feel good at first but I would get tired of it. I would want my privacy after a while. The Victoria’s Secret Angels should be given more credit because they work hard to be where they are they need more than just a pretty face to be successful.

    • Also, I think a lot of people don’t realize how damaging looking like a Victoria’s Secret angel is on the body. The women who do this exercise and eat nothing but kale for weeks and then the hydrate themselves for the show. Even they can’t keep it up full-time. It’s not quite so bad for the other VC models but consider that these are women who naturally have bodies that fit the Victoria’s Secret style and yet they still starve themselves. At least one model decided to stop because she was worried about the example she was giving her niece who started starving herself.

  5. I, truthfully, have no desire to look like the Victoria’s Secret models but I have my own reasons for this. The first reason for this is because I have a lot of confidence in my looks and I almost never feel insecure about my appearance. This is not because I think I am extremely attractive but it is because I naturally stray from society’s ideal beauty standards. When I see women on Instagram who are famous for their looks or even Victoria’s Secret models, they all look the same to me. This is because they all seem to have the same exact body parts and proportions and same exact features: small nose, big lips, cheekbones, etc. This is because they get surgical procedures to look how society wants them to. To me, I cannot see beyond these surgical procedures as it looks way too unrealistic for me. I do not compare them to other women because it just is not practical in my eyes and I also do not find these standards attractive. For me, I live by “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and I truly believe this.

  6. In today’s society, looking like a Victoria’s secret angel is deemed the goal. We are forced to think that that is what we should look like but in reality it is unhealthy. It is an unrealistic image of women and saying that in order to be beautiful you have to be thin, tall and curvy. Practically all women do not look that way which creates insecurities and self image issues. But the women that do look like this also face the struggle of objectification. Men feel entitled to reduce them down to a thing they can just use for their pleasure. So in my opinion, I would much rather be myself than a Victoria Secret Angel. Sure I am not content with the way I look but it sure is a lot better than practically starving myself and constantly objectified by random men and women.

  7. From what I remember from reading some studies on attractiveness several years ago, most people benefit from being more attractive.Despite this I think Dunham’s opinion on wishing to remain average is a grounded perspective. People as a whole can be harsh and shallow by forming quick opinions off of nothing but physical appearance. I think some attributes people assign to others can be complete opposites just based off of appearance. If a person is attractive being quiet can be seen as an endearing shyness whereas if a person is unattractive they can be seen as aloof. I’d also echo Dunham’s point about attractiveness masking others’ intentions from you. If you’re attractive how do you know if people actually care about you and your thoughts or just care that you’re attractive? Being a Victoria’s Secret model has the additional issues that modeling puts forth as a whole. It promotes unrealistic beauty standards. Although the knowledge that models’ beauty is often enhanced through illusions created by angles, lighting, and photoshop might be easily available it’s still hard to avoid the bombardment of images on what beautiful woman “should” look like. All the methods used to enhance a models looks makes it so the model themselves couldn’t live up to their own projected image. It is doubly concerning when the beauty standards pushed forward can be physically unsafe. Some of the bodyfat percentages being lauded as the ideal standard for sexiness are actually unhealthy in both men and women. A certain level of bodyfat is essential to having a healthy body and the bodyfat levels promoted in modeling potentially could imbalance hormones. Lastly modeling looks like a very cruel job. Your value exists solely in your attractiveness, a fleeting resource. I’d imagine being extremely attractive would be stressful because aging is unavoidable and you’d be losing the main attribute that people see when they look at you. All in all modeling seems to place attractiveness on a pedestal and for what reason? People who don’t meet that standard can feel inadequate and the people who do will have to contend with their defining attribute constantly fleeing from themselves.

  8. I do agree with Lena Dunham to some extent. Not every woman has a VS body, but a lot of them are just naturally tall and skinny without needing to have a crazy diet. There is nothing wrong with having a VS body and there is nothing wrong with not having one. I’m a curvy latina with big boobs and a kinda big butt and the way that a tall skinny women is looked at by people my body type is also looked at the same. Although, to me it seems like Lena is making it seem that having a VS body is a complete nightmare. But everyone is different and everyone has a different body type. Now with how women keep up with their body is something totally different because many women are not comfortable in their own skin and starve themselves just to look like VS models. It is harder said than done but I think every women should be comfortable in their own skin. I really do agree with when said that more attractive looking women are seen as sex objects and “plain” women are seen as brainy. Looks do not determine how smart you are.

    • Yes, I’m sure that having a Victoria’s Secret body would not be a complete nightmare. But she put an interesting slant that a lot of people may not have thought about.

  9. yaritza Valladolid

    When it comes to expressing my thoughts on beauty runways like Victoria Secret models. For example, I strongly think that Victoria Secret is creating an unrealistic woman. Which clearly it is leaving aside the true value and importance of women. Therefore the image that Victoria Secret is portraying with these women is the image that a woman is valuable through a lightweight in order to be a beauty. In other words, this image to young teenage women can lead to believing that in order to be accepted you would have to have an eating disorder to achieve your objectives to have somewhat an image like these models. I also strongly believe that it is necessary to find alternatives to increase the idea that a women’s value is based on their own morals, not their aspects. Especially when we live in a society where women are always considered inferior to men. After all, women should learn how to accept themselves just the way they are.

  10. As a male, I do sure like to see a nice body but I don’t think it is suffice for me to marry her. There is more to a woman than there body. I also feel for these because a lot of men are only interested in looks and not what the person really is so how can a woman tell if the guy asking for her number is really into her or just into her behind and/or chest. I respect how Lena Dunham responded to the question. It just goes to show how not all woman wants to have that stereotypical “sexy” body. It really shows how confident she is in her own skin. A woman who is comfortable in her own body is much more sexier than a woman who has a slim waist but starves herself just to be in that so-called “perfect” body that everyone wants.

  11. I find this topic really interesting because I am tall and skinny and some of my friends sometimes ask me why I’m not a model. My answers most of the time is because I like to eat and I would not be able to maintain a strict diet. But apart from that, the other reason is that in my opinion, Victoria’s Secret angels look too skinny, even though they said they’re eating healthy and is only because models have a strict diet, in my opinion, they’re still too skinny. And is true I said I am skinny, and I also eat healthily, but I don’t have a strict diet and compare to Victoria’s Secret Angel I’m not that skinny. And is true I also think that there is a possibility that I could have or date any guy I like if I looked like a Victoria Secret model. But as mention in the blog, what assures me that the guy is not going out with me because I am a model or because of how I look. In the case that he is going out with me because of how I look what would happen if I gain weight would he leave me? Would I look less attractive to him? All those questions would not let me feel secure about myself. And that’s why I will rather be me.

  12. I found this article interesting because it shows that not all women are obsessed with having perfect bodies or looking perfectly sleek and thin. As a woman, I am very worried about my weight and want to be as thin and attractive as possible. While I am not as obsessive over myself and my appearance as many other women, I still do not want to be overweight, either.
    What surprised me to hear in this article was that the less a woman looks like a supermodel, the more successful she will be in certain ventures, such as job interviews. Furthermore, I found it interesting how women who do resemble super models are often viewed solely as sexual objects, not as real human beings. And the thought that some women consider looking attractive to be a threat intrigued me because it shows that not all women are worried about imitating super models.
    Even after reading this, I still want to live healthy; however, I do not necessarily want to be “perfect”.

  13. In a blog that the main topic is equality between men and women, this post tendency is to stereotyping the models and consecutively, all the women in the Victoria’s Secret Angel looking like category and our duty as women and society is exactly the opposite, to fight against the labels. If the stereotype is that supermodels or beautiful women are less intelligent or don’t work hard, we should fight against it. Why women cannot be both, beautiful and very smart? Why a beautiful woman is always associated as a sex object? Models leave the comfort of their home at a very young age, in their early teenagerhood, and normally to live abroad. They learn how to speak different languages and how to manage their own money as we, the rest of the world, still high schoolers. The photo shooting average is 14 hours a day, meaning that they work really hard. Instead of agreeing with these labels we should be questioning the roots of the problem – why we, as a society, still buying the image of Goddess woman, skinny and forever young? And why we still allow the ‘so old but up-to-date’ woman and sex object association in all the media? Also, as women, we should be proud of the fact that the female models make in average 148% more than the men – one of the rare category where it happens.

    • Well you are arguing against something that was not argued here. No one said that a woman can’t be both beautiful and smart and I have talked in other blog posts about how they can. But I don’t think that it should be assumed that all women would want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model or that that would necessarily be a good thing.

  14. Cynthia Saavedra Ruiz

    This post brings me back to when I was younger and I wanted to look “prettier” but as I grew older and started to realize how men can make you feel so uncomfortable in your own body, I realized I was happy with my appearance. Looking like a Victoria model can be very appealing and can definitely boost up your confidence but it also makes you a huge target for crazy people who can become obsessed about you for your looks and can go to extremities to try to get you for themselves only. Like you mentioned in one of the comments that someone said, being attractive is never associated with being harmed but in reality it’s the complete opposite. Being in a prison, walking on the street, going out to your car at night, simple things that people never associate with danger can be very dangerous for a tall, skinny, beautiful women. It’s really a tragedy that women are judged by their appearance instead of truly admiring someones beauty for who they are inside and out.

  15. I honestly could not imagine having the life of the Victoria’s Secret Angels – restricted diets, excessive exercise, and the pressure to maintain a certain body type. The pressure becomes greater as you get older and can no longer maintain a body that is youthful, which eventually leads to the replacements of models to others that do meet the expectations to become these Angels. Just as Lena Dunham mentioned, “it must be a big burden…to look that way and be in public”. I actually think about this often when I am commuting on my on own through public transportation since I am in no way the expectations of beauty and do not have a perfect body such as these angels, so thankfully I am not bothered by men through catcalling and the such, since I do not bring that kind of attention. But I can only imagine how these females that do appear in such standards and how much of a burden it would be to get that much attention by men; it must certainly become annoying and even uncomfortable. So to answer the initial question of the title, I would much rather be myself than a Victoria Secret Angel, because at least I can eat whenever I want and exercise without any pressure of having to appear a certain way.

  16. I found this post very interesting. As someone who does not look like a Victoria Secret model, I have always wondered how it must feel to look like that. I think the author brings up a really good point about how beauty can be a prison, and how women who are not classically beautiful might get treated differently than women who look like models. Something I found interesting was how the author mentions studies that said women who are average looking are more likely to get a job interview. This blows my mind because girls are constantly taught from a young age that the more beautiful you are, the easier it is for you to succeed in life. However, according to this article the opposite is true. I also found it interesting that according to Michael Kimmel men are more interested in bragging about being with a beautiful girl than actually being with a beautiful girl. While I found this interesting, unfortunately it did not surprise me. With the way men are portrayed in the media, and with what I have over heard men say in the real world, I’ve discovered that men are much more interested in what they can brag about to their friends than the actual experience itself.

  17. While I do admire how much hard work models have to put into keeping their image and how strong they must be to have to deal with a lot of comments and attention thrown their way, I wouldn’t want to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Personally, I have had body issues for the majority of my life now and it was mainly due to the way society portrays women in advertisements and movies; I grew up watching Disney movies and playing with Barbie dolls, seeing the tiny waists and gorgeous features all of them had made me envious. I thought that my body wasn’t “perfect” and it made me feel even more sad as I went to the mall and saw the Victoria’s Secret store with the huge pictures of beautiful models. However, I eventually learned that beauty is subjective and everyone is beautiful in their own way. As said before, beauty really does come in different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, it is true that in society some people mostly focus on the looks of someone rather than other things, like their character. From personal experience and from what I have heard many others have to go through, it is difficult to follow the societal pressures of being a certain weight or body type, but I think that as long as you are comfortable in your own body and you’re happy and healthy, then that is most important.

  18. I honestly have thought about what if I was taller, thinner, prettier many times in my life and wondered how different my life would be. However, I feel I have become who I am not for how someone perceives me by my outward appearance, but by what I have accomplished. As our first few chapters in Women’s Realities, Women’s Choices have discussed, historically the women’s movement and women activists have criticized the subordinate place of women in American society and the Victoria’s Secret Angel is an image that perpetuates our subordination. Women have been advocating for our place in society, fighting to be acknowledged for our academic achievements and our civil rights. Women have been judged for their looks and expected dress and act a certain way. Television, media and other social media platforms have expanded the means to create that perfect women, impossible for most women to achieve. Girls younger and younger are expected to be sexy, skinny, dress in the latest fashions and if you don’t you are outcast even by other girls. Society has promoted competition and exclusion for those not meeting the criteria.

    Do little girls dream of being a Victoria Secret Angel, I am sure some do. I cannot even imagine what they must go through to keep looking like they do. However, do you believe the models were chosen for their intelligence, probably not? Are they taken seriously, maybe and maybe not? I would rather know I received a job because I was the most qualified, not because I was young and pretty.

  19. I feel like women can definitely be both. Beautiful and have brains. Personally I would not be too happy to be a Victoria’s Secret model. I don’t like attention and It would be so hard to keep a ” Victoria Secret Model” weight. I love to eat. I hope a day comes that women are not seen as an object. There are many beautiful women I know that are very intelligent. Why do we have to be one or the other. Things really need to change and little by little we will get there. All women are made in so many different shapes and sizes, that shouldn’t define who a woman is. I remember going to a working interview once and the doctor who I was interviewing for had commented on my scrub shirt. He said I my breast were too big for it. Comments like these are the reasons why I would not be able to be a Victorias Secret Model. I am not big on the attention, but I do applaud all the beautiful women who do model and take comments like these. Hopefully soon things start to come together and beauty won’t be so much of a big deal some day.

  20. This post brings up a really interesting point that I don’t think I ever actually thought about. Most celebrities–Victoria’s Secret models in particular–are seen as beautiful, unattainable, and the ideal of what women should all look like–or what we should all at least try to look like. The Victoria’s Secret runway show and other such events along with pretty much everything else portrayed in the media is constantly telling us this is true and reminding us of this fact. Chapter one of the textbook, Women’s Choices, Women’s Realities, mentions that “there is no problem with these media images except that they act as norms” that are “so powerful that we enforce them not just in others but in ourselves”. Therefore, asking any woman if they would rather look like a Victoria’s Secret model instead of themselves should garner a “yes”. However, Dunham makes a pretty good point in saying that her life is probably a lot easier than the lives of these other women. If women are already primarily seen as objects and sexualized on a regular basis in their everyday lives, then it would make sense that being beautiful would just heighten this fact and would definitely have men fighting over the chance to brag about “nailing” them above anything else.

  21. tanza erlambang

    I love with this question:” You think you’d be happier if you were better-looking, but would you feel the same way if you were in prison?”

    have a great day

  22. At this point in life i am happy with my body, after a few years of trying to go back to my ideal weight, before having children i finally realize that our body changes through out the years . i don’t consider my self  fat i see my self more thick and curvy, i don’t mind this new body, however i do prefer to be slim, like when i was in High school. I believe it will be difficult to adapt to a new body specially like the Victoria Secret Angels that are thin and tall,  i admire their bodies it requires discipline, hard work and special diets, specially to those who have children and return back to modeling and still are in good shape,  i defiantly don’t think that having good looks will me happier, their is more to life then a perfect body and good looks. I chose a healthy life.

  23. I agree with Lena Dunhan I would not want to wake up in the body of a Victoria Secret model body I have read articles about how much preparation the models have to go through. The insane diets, and workout plans those things would all take an insane amount of self discipline. Even after all that preparation it is not guaranteed that they will be given a spot on that runway. Going through all that hard work just to put on a pair if wings might seem like a dream come through to others but it is not ideal for me. Not only that but everyone would be constantly judging and criticizing your body. Beauty should not be seen as a negative thing after all beauty is in the eye of the beholder and people should not be judged simply because they are above average.

  24. The question posed here is that ‘would you want to wake up as a Victoria secret model or yourself? and it is safe to say that many women would prefer to wake up as themselves because as a women who is very physically attractive, many people disregard them as a women, but rather as a sex object. Although beauty is a gift many males regard it as a sex appeal for their sake. The reason for this mentality men have is that throughout the course civilization and the structure of society, women’s role in society was often to stay home and look good for their husbands. Women throughout the course of history have been degraded lower than a human being and onto being a sex appeal to their husbands and when the time came where their lost their beauty, their husbands just left them, leaving them alone and in distraught and in confusion. This is better resembles the story La Lorna, a myth where there was once a girl who was the most beautiful in her village, but came from a very poor family, and one day a son of a noble came and saw her majestic beauty and instantly married her. They then had 2 twins, but the son didn’t inform his parents about the secret marriage and so she had to live alone while her husband was away with his parents. Over time La Lorna lost her beauty from old age and raising her kids, and when her husband returned, his love faded and he then married another younger girl, leaving La Lorna by herself, and finally when walking by the river with her twins, she saw her ex-husband and became so furious with the sight of him that she threw her kids in the water, and immediately out of guilt and realization of what she had done, she had jumped in the river to go and save them,and to this day she is still trying to find her kids. This story shows evident that even in early Mexican culture they already had adopted this perception of women into their everyday lives and women were forced into this society without any say. The story also shows the psychological pain women go through when constantly judged and seen by their beauty, not themselves. And so going back to the question whether a women should wake up as themselves, or a supermodel, the safe and logical answer should be themselves because only then can they truly be appreciated for who they are.

  25. In regards to either being myself or a victoria’s secret model, I would want to be myself. I remember watching the interviews and how women had struggled prepping for the actual show and everything for it. The diet, the workout regimen and how they expect the body types to be all the same is actually insane. Not everyone is built that skinny or pretty or anything like that. The actual way of being stared at seen as someone as a sex object and not as a person makes me uncomfortable. I would actually be so scared and ashamed of myself if something went south. The idea that I know I get judged already but also the idea that its not just silent, its made for everyone to see and hear on social media makes it worse. The type of hate and strength it takes to be seen for that is something I do applaud because it takes a certain type of person to go through multiple levels of humility for it.

  26. I agree with Dunham, in that at my age, I wouldn’t want to wake up with an Angel’s body. Back in the day (25ish years), I did and it had its struggles. I was in the restaurant business and not in the cush front of house, in the back, cooking. It was definetly harder to be taken serious, to have people think you were trainable or smart. I felt I had to work harder, take less breaks, work more hours/days and basically outdo everyone to advance. It worked, but I always heard snide comments. It isn’t that way for women where I work now. It has to do with management and how well they support their people. Back to the story, it would also be a challenge if you were going for a job interview and you intimidated or made your interviewer insecure. I’ve seen people get passed up because the interviewer thought the young woman wouldn’t work hard because she was so good looking. As Dunham also stated, it probably takes an insane amount of discipline to eat super healthy and diet all the time, as well as exercise all the time. I would not be living my best life possible if I was essentially starving myself. I do love exercising, when I have time, but lately, time is limited. I also think that when you have a fulfilling career, hobbies, interests and healthy/happy relationships with the people around you, looks aren’t as important.

  27. I have been told many times that I should be a model because I have a slim figure and long legs. I have seen the models that walk the runway for Victoria’s Secret and in the moment their bodies do look good because of the clothes or rather fabrics that they are wearing compliments their body type. For me, I do not like wearing tight clothes or shorts because it shows how slim my legs are and that has always been one of my biggest insecurities. My insecurity has caused me to get a gym membership for the sole purpose of working out my legs and hopefully making them “bigger” with muscle so I can finally wear skinny jeans and feel comfortable in them and not feel insecure about what people may be thinking about the way I look. Having an “angel” body does come with downfalls as mentioned, men seek women out for their body and not for who they are and many times could care less about who the “angel” really is as a person but instead are more focused on what they look like.

  28. Personally, I also wouldn’t want to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel but for different reasons. I think no matter how I look, I would still be unsatisfied since no matter what body I have. There will always be someone criticizing it, or I’ll find some flaw to focus on and try to change. Rather than waking up in a “beautiful body”, waking up with a clear mindset that isn’t poisoned by beauty standards and just loves your body for existing. Maybe even waking up to a world that views beauty as something that everyone can have or a world that doesn’t base worth on beauty. It’s honestly a two sided sword for appearances, if you’re ugly or average, you should feel lucky that you aren’t catcalled or objectified, but they should still strived towards beauty. If you’re beautiful, amazing, you get many benefits but also you can be catcalled and people feel entitled to harass you.

  29. Eli Harrison Pritchard

    I find the reaction to Dunham’s answer strange because even if she said yes that’s weird answer. Saying that I would love to wake up in model’s body reads more like a public admission low self-esteem. Dunham is also making a good point as to why she doesn’t want to, it just presents another complication in day to day life. One thing I find strange about the question is that it presents a hypothetical that kind of already happens in real life. There are plenty of people who spend a large amount of time chasing the societal ideal and will structure a portion of their live after it. If Dunham wanted to chase that ideal and try to look like a model wouldn’t she already be doing that. To me the question itself is very awkward because most will openly say no since the other option appears very self-loathing. Then we have the element of that looking like a model simply places a burden of unwanted attention, or another threat for a woman. There is a greater more depressing notion at play here that being attractive as a woman is akin to being in a prison.

    • I saw a documentary on supermodels and was surprised to learn that they are among the most self-loathing. Their bodies are constantly being picked apart because they aren’t completely perfect. And then there’s the risk that the body focus can make us one dimensional

  30. This has always been a topic that interests me due to how touchy of a topic it oddly can be. It’s difficult as a woman to talk and debate about the benefits/detriments attractiveness plays in one’s life without the accompaniment of quite a few eye rolls.
    There’s, of course, a trade off for each. If you choose to play into society’s expectations of how a woman should look, you may be rewarded with preferential treatment from society and in the workplace, but you may also be subjecting yourself susceptible to the harassment that all too often accompanies it (not to excuse harassment in any way, just stating from observation that there’s a definite correlation between the two). However, if someone wishes to put in the extra hours of primping and taking care of their health and subsequent figure, I believe they shouldn’t be judged for doing so.
    In my opinion, one would be much better off putting the amount of time expended into perfecting one’s looks into furthering one’s education, but of course, that is just my opinion and we are all subject to our own opinions.

    • Good points. But we put so much pressure on women to be beautiful — to the point that women can end up being one dimensional — that a lot of us don’t consider the downside.

  31. As someone who considers herself to be average looking and has had to deal with quite a few uncomfortable scenarios while out regarding being approached by men, I can only imagine how often uncomfortable scenarios like that must happen for women who are as beautiful as Victoria’s Secret models. I can only imagine that they have to be more aware of their surroundings even more so. Also, I think it would be difficult to break away from the pretty girl image and be noticed and recognized for something you are truly good at and passionate about when you are physically attractive on that sort of level. I think girls often assume that the prettier one is, the easier you have it and while this may be true in some sense, there are also a number of negatives that come along with it.

  32. I have a weird reaction to this post as a whole. I think that question is borderline insulting? Also, I personally find Lena Dunham way more attractive than most Victoria’s secret models. This whole thing is predicated on the idea that conventional attraction the best kind there is. I think this problematic thinking and I’m really happy Lena responded the way she did.

    I was saddened by “You think you’d be happier if you were better-looking, but would you feel the same way if you were in prison? You don’t associate being attractive with any sort of threat, but for women it can be.” What a sad tightrope to have to walk. Wanting to be beautiful because society says that is all you’re worth, but not too beautiful because society will also say you were asking for it if you’re so beautiful you get attacked. I had never actually considered that being attractive could be considered a physical threat by women. As I read it it made perfect sense, but I am saddened by the reality of it.

    • Yeah, Women are in a difficult double-blind, and on a different different angles:

      Be beautiful. But don’t be vain (or appear to be)
      Be beautiful. But not too beautiful — very beautiful women are slut-shamed more than other women
      Don’t be too beautiful, but don’t be to homely either

      Where is the perfect fit that society accepts?

      The only positive that it can teach us to stop worrying about what other people think. But that is difficult since humans are hardwired to need other people.

  33. Victoria’s Secret apparently isn’t doing very well and is likely to be closing stores. That should tell you something.

  34. We are all given gifts, some given strength, some wisdom, some beauty, etc. The point isn’t the gift that one has been given; but, how they use that gift. Since this topic is beauty, I will use Brigitte Bardot as an example. Arguably the most beautiful person on the planet. She used that beauty by meeting with world leaders on behalf of animal rights. Had she just been ordinary looking, I doubt so many world leaders would have made time to talk to her about animal rights. It is never the gift, but how the gift is used.

    • Bridgette Bardot used her beauty well. But some make an idol of it and get distracted from more important things.

    • I…I think this is incredibly reductive of Brigitte Bardot. This post accredits her success to her beauty. It may or may not have been a factor, but to say “I doubt so many world leaders would have made time to talk to her about animal rights.” discredits the passion this women must have felt to even get in a room and talk to world leaders. This argument is never made about men. No one is like, Martin Luther King Jr. only made a big impact because he was good looking. Obama is seen as an incredibly attractive man, but no one says he likely would have lost were he not. I’m not saying that beauty didn’t play a factor in these things, but I do think it’s also telling that we are so quick to diminish the hard work and passion behind a woman’s success, and give credit to how beautiful she is. What does that say to all of the “ordinary” women? You could have done more if you were beautiful? That seems frighteningly close to the narrative that led to the reporter even asking Dunham if she’d want to have the body of a Victoria’s secret model in the first place.

      At it’s heart, I get what you’re saying. Beauty is a resource, to be used for good or bad. I do think that it’s often only seen as a resource when we are talking about women though. When a good looking man is successful he is charming, a trait that takes a level or social grace and intelligence. Women are beautiful, something that takes no intelligence..they just have to sit and look pretty. I think this is a dangerous line of thought.

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