Once a year, some of the world’s most beautiful women come together in a fantastic location to perform in one of the most anticipated shows of the year—the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The fashion world’s equivalent of the Super Bowl, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show enraptures millions of viewers who tune in to be dazzled by the stunning models, extravagant costumes, and A-List entertainers.

You may be one of those people. As the fashion show draws near, admittedly people spent too much time scrolling through the Angels’ Instagram accounts, watching behind-the-scenes footage, and drooling over the exclusive—and expensive—VS Fashion Show merchandise. When the show airs, you glue myself to your couch, snacks in hand and eyes affixed to the television screen, for the length of the program. Women were obsessed!

As much as we loved the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you said that you didn’t feel self-conscious watching beautiful women strut confidently down the catwalk in sexy lingerie as you yourself sit in PJ’s shoveling popcorn into your mouth. In your rational mind, know that the models represent only the small portion of the human population who has won the genetic lottery. Even still, you can’t help but feel inadequate in the virtual presence of these women.

The reason why the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show can have a negative impact on its viewers’ body image is simple: lack of representation. Though the brand has made an effort to diversify its cast of models, the majority of the models employed by Victoria’s Secret are straight-sized women of European descent. When you watch a program of which the main objective is to showcase beauty and you can’t find a single model who looks like you, it’s easy to feel less than beautiful.

Where do we go from here?

Thankfully, the fashion industry is in the midst of a major revolution. The old standard of beauty is being challenged, and more companies are employing models of different shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.

American Eagle’s Aerie brand celebrates the diversity of its models and has made one of its missions to promote a more realistic standard of beauty among its customers. As a part of their campaign for body positivity, Aerie has stopped photo-shopping its models.

Thanks in part to the success enjoyed by Aerie, other brands are following suit. Even Sports Illustrated and Playboy have begun to showcase plus-sized, mid-sized, and ethnically diverse models.

In the wake of the fashion world’s body-image revolution, models themselves have become advocates for body positivity in the fashion industry. Models like: Iskra Lawrence, Ashley Graham, Winnie Harlow, and Madeline Stuart prove that beauty comes in many forms and is not exclusive to Victoria’s Secret Angels.

If Victoria’s Secret wants to survive as a company, the brand must join the revolution and become more representative of its client base. I believe that it’s only a matter of time until we see a more diverse VS Fashion Show cast or at least something else in its stead. Until that happens, women everywhere will always have a different image of themselves than they’re supposed to.

Since the ratings have been declining from 6.7 million viewers in 2016 and down from 9.7 million in 2013, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is no more even though it brought in 3.3 million of viewership on ABC in its last year 2018. We’re waiting for something else – something better – to take its place.

Yes as you can see above, millions of viewers celebrated the beauty of those accomplished women on that stage; I think now more than ever upon all the brands and models that are changing the face of the fashion industry and be reminded that, at the risk of sounding cliché, every woman is beautiful in her uniqueness.

What do you hold beautiful?

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