People are furious at Victoria's Secret for refusing to use plus size or transgender models
12 November 2018, 11:31 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 17:37
Victoria's Secret's Chief Marketing Officer has apologised for the "insensitive" comments he made.
The Victoria Secret's Fashion Show 2018 kicked off last week and again it posed the question about inclusivity in the fashion industry. They wheeled out the Hadids, Kendall Jenner and the usual bombshells but none of them were remotely plus-size.
In a bizarre and highly-criticised interview with Vogue magazine at the event, Ed Razek harshly said the lingerie company's shows were a "fantasy" and should not include transgender or plus size models.
Mr Razek – who is part of the casting team – and the brand's Executive Vice-President of Public Relations, Monica Mitro, were asked whether Victoria's Secret should be more diverse. "I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis," Mr Razek explained. "If you're asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don't."
He added: "It's like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy." Yep, he actually said that. Obviously, his comments didn't go down well with trans and plus size activists alike. In fact, people even said they wouldn't be shopping with VS anymore.
The comments made by Victoria’s Secret are shameful. I want to see trans models, plus size women, women with disabilities etc - I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t? We’re all women, all valid and we deserve better representation. It’s not good enough.— Georgi Kate 🌺 (@QueenOfAsgard_) November 11, 2018
We do not claim victoria's secret when rihanna gives us a show with plus size, trans and pregnant women https://t.co/dF2ROSETlD— #R9 🍒 (@rihannaNepal) November 11, 2018
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Who needs VS anyway?! They never supported plus ladies & now they are trying to dis my trans sisters? Hell nah. Kiss my fat ass. I said this to @teenvogue this week: “As much as I want VS, who’s the biggest lingerie retailer, to embrace plus size and more diverse body types, it's also important to give your time, focus, and money to brands who are actually doing what you want to see. It’s important to be vocal about the brands you do like and what they’re doing right because that’s who should get our money because they actually care about marginalized groups. Always support progressive brands.” . . I’m wearing @asos on my bum which will always get my money! ✌🏻#effyourbeautystandards #boycottvsfashionshow [image description: black and white photo of Tess’s bum wearing lacy underwear & the second photo is a screenshot of a news article of the CEO of VS pictured with models & the headline reads: “Victoria Secrets execs explain why they don’t use trans or plus size models”]
victoria’s secret out here saying they won’t employ trans or plus size models yet they keep employing the same model year after year who can’t even walk straight. lmao let’s leave them to it girls n gays.— Grey Jarvis (@grey_jarvis) November 11, 2018
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It's extremely concerning to hear this comment about why @victoriassecret would not cast a trans model. It speaks volumes about how certain people within the industry still view trans women. To make a blanket statement that we are not desirable, because he does not see us as desirable, is his personal view and not rooted in fact. That we can not be viewed as aspirational, like a cis model, that we cannot "sell the fantasy", which we know is not case at all. This comment is rooted in transphobia and feeds into the narrative that trans women are not women. If you want to sell a fantasy, then sell a fantasy. Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be and if that intentionally doesn't include trans women, then that's your prejudice talking. The reality is that trans women are desired by many, to suggest otherwise is shortsighted and without doubt transphobic.
victoria’s secret will never get another dime of my money, and I suggest that others do the same. there are so many more high quality, plus size, trans friendly brands to support!— lacey (@laceyreneed) November 11, 2018
Mr Razek soon back-pedalled on his initial statement and apologised on Twitter.
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018
Victoria's Secret has been fighting falling sales since 2016 and perhaps their unwillingness to evolve out of their archaic perception of female bodies could be an issue. The fashion industry is gradually becoming more and more inclusive, so they might want to take a few notes from our gal Rihanna.
In September, Rih Rih had a plethora of diverse models walk the runway for her Savage x Fenty show, including heavily pregnant model Slick Woods, who gave birth shortly after the show.