Okay, I admit, I didn’t watch the whole thing. I’ve seen it before. If I was diligent I would have watched the whole production, but about ten minutes was really all I felt I needed to establish that this year was much like the others; please correct me if I am wrong. The Victoria’s Secret runway extravaganza was on last night, complete with wings, glitter, thigh-high stockings and boots, and lots of beautiful young women strutting in various stages of undress and impossibly tall shoes. Fantasies of costuming and flesh took their turns on the runway to the acclaim of the crowd. What are we selling here? I asked myself. Underwear? No. There were times when the VS garments were completely eclipsed by feathers or what have you. The superficial ideal of bodily perfection? Closer. Of course, what they were selling was the BRAND that could, in theory, help ordinary women achieve that type of fantastical perfection. For a price. Results not guaranteed.
Young models exulted backstage, “This is every girl’s dream!” I guess that makeup and costuming, cheers and applause, lights and music, money and SO much attention is very appealing. I also believe the models work hard and suffer to get a place on the catwalk (the shoes ALONE, I can’t even imagine,) so they deserve some exhilaration on their big night. But I hope it isn’t every girls’ dream to be a fantasy, an image of allure constructed for the purpose of promoting a product to consumers who are only interested in physicality. I’d want more for my daughters, if I had some. I’d want them to realize there is beauty outside the dimensions sported by the models, and that living for the spotlight leaves you empty, because eventually the spotlight moves on without you. I’d want them to know that if all your assets are physical, then your house is made of cards and doomed to fall. Also, look at those people in the audience, all jazzed to see young women in their nearly bare nakedness. Ladies, these are not your friends.
If it’s just a job, so be it. A job with a lot of fanfare and sacrifices and expectations. Good and bad. Maybe I don’t like what you are selling or how you go about it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to try. While you are up there, being ogled on the pedestal, just remember to be smart. Make good choices with your friends, your money and your health. With luck, they will all still be there for you when the spotlight moves on. The rest of us (the other 99%?) can use this opportunity to thoughtfully consider what real beauty means to us.