I grew up passing by pictures of the Victoria’s Secret “Angels” in the windows of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Mall every day as a ’90s child who went through puberty in the early ’00s. When I was in high school, watching the VS fashion show on TV was like witnessing a championship athletic event, and ever since, their sculpted, slim bodies have been ingrained in my mind as the epitome of beauty. Years after the company reached its peak popularity in the early 2010s, a new documentary series on Hulu is reminding me of how essential the brand was to the toxic beauty standards that many people still struggle with today.
Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons, a three-part documentary series, examines the influence the lingerie brand had on society and fashion in the early 2000s and the long-lasting effects of the unrealistic body standards it promoted. Throughout the video, journalists and former VS staffers repeatedly use the word “unattainable” as clips of models from 2010 play in the background, blowing kisses at the camera as they walk down runways in ornate wings. In addition to covering just the surface of what other controversies the docuseries dug up about the brand , the documentary serves as a reminder of how detrimental the brand was to women’s self-esteem and body image in its heyday.
In addition to being detrimental to my self-image as a teen, the tall, slim, toned, large-breasted models Victoria’s Secret (and other businesses at that era) exhibited were detrimental to young women worldwide. For instance, a 2001 review of 25 various tests published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that exposure to “the slender beauty ideal, as portrayed in mass media” increased body dissatisfaction. Later, a 2004 study discovered that viewing “thin-ideal magazine photos” had unsettling consequences, such as lowering self-esteem, causing unpleasant emotions, and exhibiting eating disorder symptoms.
The new video shows how far other manufacturers have come in depicting what women’s bodies look like and what customers genuinely want to wear (no more scratchy, lace thongs, please). However, there is still work to be done. It calls attention to Lane Bryant, a plus-size clothing retailer that launched the “I’m No Angel” campaign in 2015 in opposition to Victoria’s Secret’s archaic beauty standards, indicating a shift in both culture and the fashion industry as a whole. Additionally, the show serves as a reminder to viewers of the 2018 Vogue article a particularly tone-deaf interview by former Victoria’s Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek. He was very explicit in the interview that he didn’t feel the need to compete with younger, more diverse lingerie firms, ostensibly because he didn’t want to draw customers who didn’t fit this “dream.” Even more specifically, he made mention of ThirdLove, a company renowned for its cozy underwear and genuine marketing materials. ThirdLove published an open letter wrote to VS at the time to express her disapproval of the company’s exclusivity, saying, “You market to males and offer a male dream to women.”
Victoria’s Secret has undergone a significant rebranding effort over the past several years thanks to plummeting stocks and the #MeToo movement , as well as new and reimagined brands that now sell (and aesthetically showcase) lingerie for a wider range of body shapes. The company’s “Angels” were replaced in 2021 by the “ VS Collective ,” a diverse group of outstanding women that included Megan Rapinoe, a soccer star, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, an actress and tech investor. Additionally, the business has a brand-new team that works exclusively to consult with the women of the VS Collective on product lineups, content, and internal initiatives. Even Remi Bader, a TikTok star known for her “realistic” clothes hauls, who now serves as a brand ambassador and size adviser for Victoria’s Secret PINK, a subsidiary of the company catering to younger customers, is being copied by the company.
Initially, there was a lot of cynicism about the brand’s makeover, and it is still unclear whether or not people will embrace it. Victoria’s Secret recently introduced collections with a comfort-focused aesthetic, like the Love Cloud collection , and modernized its marketing and e-commerce with what other controversies the docuseries dug up about the brand 0, yet the company share price is still what other controversies the docuseries dug up about the brand 1. The company will have to demonstrate that its more relaxed collection styles and more relatable campaign imagery aren’t just empty public relations gimmicks but rather carefully considered actions that show how Victoria’s Secret truly understands how its influence can affect what future generations view as “beautiful.”
what other controversies the docuseries dug up about the brand 2 is now trending on TikTok, so it will be a tough hill to climb. The lingerie company was owned by a guy, profited off people’s body issues, and fostered a fantasy that affected people’s relationships with food, according to a user who recently created and published a song. Numerous what other controversies the docuseries dug up about the brand 3 videos are now available on TikTok.
The detrimental effects of the so-called VS fantasy still exist in the form of social media influencers and diet culture, despite Victoria’s Secret’s attempts to rebrand itself and other inclusive businesses such as Aerie, ThirdLove, and Parade leading the way into a new era of openness and diversity. Additionally, they have long-lasting effects on people who grew up aspiring to an idealized conception of beauty. I texted my younger sister as I was writing this, “It’s still battered into my skull that being hot is the most essential thing to aspire to. Hopefully, today’s advertising commercials will show more realistic and true-to-life representations of beauty in a variety of forms, helping to avoid some of the damaging self-image problems that my generation had to deal with.