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Victoria's Secret Bashed for Photo-Shopped Models In Ads


Chick Advisor
The concept of Photoshop is not a new one - the retouching and manipulation of photos has been around longer than I have (Adobe released Photoshop 1.0 on Mac in 1990). Almost every advertisement we see has been preened with the editing brush. Even the slightest amendment can raise ethical questions of misrepresenting the ideal as real; however, when you're the largest lingerie retailer in the world, a giant blunder like this is pretty shocking and completely noticeable.

The image below has been producing mass controversy for the so-obvious-it-hurts retouching that has left the model with basically one butt cheek. The poor model has also had a substantial chunk taken out of her arm, resembling something akin to a baby shark attack. Provoking yet another social media storm, users everywhere are asking why a big brand like VS still feels the necessity to perfect their already near perfect models, which does nothing to expand their appeal but everything to propagate an unhealthy body image to easily-influenced young women.


Below are examples of some of the comments left by dis-enamoured customers:-

Rachel Anderson Truly. Madly. Deformed. #tryagainVicki
Jessica Dimsdale I'm so done shopping at Victoria's Secret you guys are disgusting. Not only do you photoshop your models but you degrade women by making us all feel inadequate. #fallenangel
Anna VeeTee uhhhhhhh come on Victoria's Secret #photoshopfail. I have slowly been purchasing more and more with #aerie because they don't photoshop their models into oblivion. PLEASE. #DOBETTER. she is beautiful as she is, as are we all and that should be celebrated! next move will be to cancel my VS credit card unsure emoticon #notbuyingit


As shown in the last comment, many have been claiming Victoria's Secret should follow Aaerie's example by promoting a healthy and realistic body image. Aaerie has been paving the way for change for a while now, having abandoned Photoshop in 2014. Pledging to only use REAL models - that is, those featured still have their original folds, rolls, tattoos and skin imperfections - the brand has seen an increase in profits that prove the tides are changing. Women don't want to buy underwear that is modelled on a stick thin, unreachable ideal that is still deemed imperfect enough by the corporate big wigs to require retouching.

Aaerie have been promoting their campaign through the #Aaeriereal hashtag on Instagram to make users aware that their photo hasn't been altered.





Some have been quick to defend the honour of VS, such as President of ONE.1Management Craig Lawrence. He said that the photo is "very alluring and sexy" which is "what VS is trying to achieve". He implied that VS cannot be compared to companies such as Aaerie as they are trying to garner a more high-end appeal that justifies with the use of taller and skinnier models.
VS has always been, and will always be about fantasy. As much as lingerie companies are following the trend, and are featuring curvier girls, VS has been one of the brands to use girls that are very relevant in high fashion.
I, for one, am not buying it. Who wants to purchase overly-priced lingerie that is never going to match up to its adverts due to the unrealistic comparison when worn on my paunchy body? At least with Aerie you can visualise the reality of the product when shown on an 'imperfect' (aka normal) woman. Not to mention this is hardly the first time Victoria's Secret have come under fire for poorly proportioned bodies. You would think by now they would have caught up with the times (or at least hired better image editors).

One branding expert provided the following explanation for the move away from airbrushed images:-
Women are becoming savvy to tricks like Photoshop, and increasingly don't trust brands that use it. We have seen the backlash, those perfect bodies are not even the bodies of the Angels. And people know that now ... people are fully aware, consciously or subconsciously, whether they are looking at a Photoshopped image.
By no means the only brand known for their poor digital nips and tucks, the rise of social media has provided a platform for dodgy mistakes such as those seen by VS to go viral and reach a huge audience. No longer do these editing errors get glossed over - all it takes is one observant user to notice a flaw in photo-shopping for the issue to once again create a media storm. The badly altered images have the potential to cause real damage to a brand, and hopefully more photo-shaming like this will continue to affect the industry's stereotypical body image.

After all, why do women's bodies need to be 'fixed'? As this story proves, most of the photos, and the bodies represented in them, end up looking worse than they did in the beginning. Surely this is a message that should resonate not only in the fashion sphere but in all aspects of womanhood: We are fine just as we are. 




SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF


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Victoria's Secret Bashed for Photo-Shopped Models In Ads Reviewed by Katie Gascoyne on Friday, October 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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