Victoria's Secret Slammed for 'Perfect Body' Campaign, Topshop Accused of Body Shaming

Victoria's Secret

What’s hot in Fashion this Fall? Body Shaming by...Everyone™.

“Everyone” is an exaggeration, yes – Calvin Klein, for one, has embraced plus size models – but so is pretending this is only now a trend now. It’s no secret the fashion industry has a long and problematic history with the body ideals they promote. Just this week, Walmart – hardly a major couturier, but still – labeled a section of their website “Fat Girl Costumes.”

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Now two more retailers have come under fire: First, Victoria’s Secret for their “Perfect ‘Body’” campaign. The “’Body’” in question is actually a type of bra – one that is available in sizes A-DDD – but slapping the phrase “The Perfect Body” on a photo of six-foot tall models with zero percent body fat is easy to misconstrue.

Victoria's Secret

A petition launched asking that Victoria’s Secret, “Apologize for, and amend the irresponsible marketing of your new bra range ‘Body’.” More than 1,000 people have signed it so far.

“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.”

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And Twitter users have started #IAmPerfect to express their outrage:

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Meanwhile at Topshop, a 23-year-old student, Becky Hopper, tweeted a photo of her friend, Georgia Bibby, standing next to one of the stick-thin mannequins used in their stores:

(FYI, Hopper is from the U.K and a U.K. size 8/10 is a U.S. size 4/6.)

Hopper’s timeline was flooded with others cosigning their horror:

Eventually, Topshop did release a statement (kind of) explaining themselves and their choice of mannequins (via Buzzfeed News):

“Topshop has long made it a priority to showcase a healthy size image to its customer from the choice of models used in the campaigns, to the stories run online and on the blog. The mannequins Topshop uses are not bespoke to Topshop and are supplied by a company that has been working with leading retailers for the past 30 years. The mannequin in question has been used in stores the past four years and is based on a standard UK size 10. The overall height, at 187cm, is taller than the average girl and the form is a stylised one to have more impact in store and create a visual focus.

“Mannequins are made from solid fibreglass, so in order for clothing to fit, the form of the mannequins needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed; this is therefore not meant to be a representation of the average female body.”

Hmm. Sounds like a lot of excuses. If clothes come in different sizes, can’t the mannequins they clothe come in different sizes too? Doesn’t seem like too crazy of logic to us.

Make sure you meet Calvin Klein’s fierce new plus size model: