At least that’s what many took from V.S.’s latest ad campaign. The ads were intended to promote their supposedly perfect line of “Body” bras – which are available in sizes A to DDD – but plastering the words “The Perfect Body" over a photo of impossibly skinny supermodels is easy to misinterpret.
Frances Black, a university student in the U.K., started a Change.org petition asking Victoria’s Secret to “Apologize for, and amend the irresponsible marketing of your new bra range ‘Body’.” More than 27,000 people have signed it.
“All this does is perpetuate low self-esteem among women who are made to feel that their bodies are inadequate and unattractive because they do not fit into a narrow standard of beauty,” the petition explains. “It contributes to a culture that encourage serious health problems such as negative body image and eating disorders.”
Dear Kate, an underwear line “for women by women,” agreed. On their site, they wrote, “As if women need a reminder of our society’s homogeneous definition of beauty, the ad features ten models with almost identical body shapes.”
So they reimagined the ad with models with many different body shapes.
“The creators of the ad probably didn’t think twice about the message it is sending,” Dear Kate wrote alongside their response. “To us, it’s irresponsible marketing.”
The message finally got through to Victoria’s Secret, who – without releasing any sort of formal statement or apology or making any announcement at all – changed the copy of the advert on their website:
“A Body for Every Body.”
Which is arguably cleverer anyway. And it’s definitely an all-around better tagline for the ad. But hey, they got tons of press for the controversy. And all press is good press, right?
“This is amazing news!” An update to the petition says. “We were not notified by Victoria's Secret or the press about this, we found it out ourselves. However the campaign is NOT over!”
The "Perfect 'Body'" posters are still hanging in Victoria’s Secret stores and, since the company has yet to speak on the matter, we’re left wondering: Some things may have changed (i.e. the slogan for this particular campaign), but has anything really changed for V.S.? What have they learned going forward?
In the meantime, meet Calvin Klein’s fierce new plus size model: