Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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A Rant Against Victoria’s Secret Swimwear Catalog

on January 2, 2010

Ok, I love Victoria’s Secret as much as the next girl, sometimes. Many of the things they make just don’t fit me. Let me begin by saying I do not look like one of their models. Never have, never will. I’m 42 now and I’ve had two children, that changes a person’s body. Not everyone is graced with the genes of those women.  If we were, the world would be a very boring place, and they would be really nothing special. 

Even though I hate to admit it, I was influenced in my teen years, and early 20’s,  by all of the glossed, air-brushed girls and women I’d see on the magazines. I used blush to try to make the bridge of my nose slimmer (it’s not wide, but not as narrow as a pencil either) because I saw an article on shading to make your face look slimmer. Blush, used in the correct location, I hoped would give me the razor-sharp cheekbones that the models had, and I did not. I had a round face and cheekbones that were not quite what I’d call prominent. I have the generic ‘You look like my sister’s best friend’ face.

My problem with Victoria’s Secret swim catalog is, well, there’s more than one. Most of their swimsuits will not fit the average, normal American gal. The average size of women in our country is a 12. This is not a bad thing, I’ve been a 12 before.  It’s not fat, it just isn’t a 4 or a 2. Which sadly, for some reason, people in the clothing/advertising industry think is the norm. Don’t get me wrong, I have some friends and family members who wear those sizes, but they are very fit, and petite. If a woman who is 5’10”, as many models are, and she wears a size 2, there’s an eating disorder involved, I can almost guarantee it.

The swimsuits in the catalog are beautiful and sexy, to be sure. The problem with it is they are unrealistic and they make the vast majority of us feel insecure and bad about the way we look. I’m not perfect, I have some areas that need serious toning, but I”m not overweight and to me, trying on swimsuits is the next best thing to Chinese water torture. They design the suits for women built to a certain, unreal standard. Then you add in the horrid overhead flourescent lights that make everyone look ill and highlight every single bump in a most unflattering way, and you’ve got a woman who is traumatized, and leaves the store thinking she’s never going to eat again so she can look like those girls in the catalogs.

Another cruel thing they’ve done is put this book out during the height of holiday season, when we’re all indulging in home-made goodies, treats and confections of every flavor and color, only to begin a new year, feeling bloated and guilty. Myself included. why put out a swimsuit catalog when no one is swimming? So we can begin our dieting frenzy, our vain attempt to squeeze ourselves into these tiny pieces of lycra and spandex? so we can feel worse about ourselves than we already do?

And what is up with the clothing designers that think women only come in one shape? They are just as bad as the VS people. Women have curves and the jeans I find in any store are made for women who don’t have any. The vast majority of women I see on the street, in the mall, at church, have curves. We come in all shapes and sizes, and yet the clothing designers only design for the straight up and down type. I have recently seen Gap jeans they call ‘Curvy’ but even those didn’t work for me. I guess my curves were in the wrong place for their jeans. Eddie Bauer makes a ‘Curvy’ jean which is ok. It’s better than the others. I just wish these clothing manufacturers would just take a look around them while they’re walking down the street or at the mall or the grocery and see there are a plethora of shapes of women and we can’t all fit into the same size any more than we can all fit into the same shape or cut of any one thing. If we are not all cookie-cutter people, why make all of the clothing as if we were? Do they not understand they would increase their market if they could design for the masses versus designing for the minority? I”m talking about the women who are in the 30 to 50 range. We are not juniors anymore, but not yet ready for the elastic waist pants and embellished things that my mother wears. Something that is in between, and made for the curvy nature of women, that’s all, nothing major. Oh, and if the clothing designers would do that, I’d next ask the stores to do something about their lighting in the dressing rooms. I dont’ know what it would be. Maybe something like the lighted 360 mirror they use on “What Not to Wear’ would help.  good lighting and a view from  every conceivable angle would be fabulous.

Ok, I think I”m done. I’m just really tired of these photo-shopped, airbrushed women looking at us from these catalogs giving us an unrealistic ideal of what they think we should look like. No one can live up to that, even the models say it.  I have to work double-extra hard to make sure that my daughter isn’t influenced by these images. She’s a beautiful girl, but she may never look like them, as I don’t.

I had to shut my mother up. Last spring my daughter was obviously going through a growth spurt (she was 5 at  the time) and eating basically everything that was not nailed down. She was putting her older brother to shame. I made a joke to my mother, her grandmother, about how much she’d been eating and said she had to be going through a growth spurt because this was way out of the norm for her. I felt like she was preparing me for the teen years in a way. My mother had the nerve, tenacity and gall to make a comment that if we weren’t careful, she’d look like some other family members who are not stick thin. Mind you, these other people my mother was referring to far from being overweight. Oh, and she also failed to recognize that she’s a little fluffy in the middle herself.

I stopped her right there and told her to never, ever say anything like that again. What she said was a derogatory remark (“big boned”) and I won’t have it. I told her to never speak like that about my daughter, or to her.  She got defensive and told me that I think everything she says is derogatory. I’m sorry, but the only time ‘big boned’ is used as a compliment is when you’re referring to a cow. There is way too much pressure put on these young girls and women to live up to this expectation that is completely false and unreal, I won’t have it coming from her family. Especially when it’s completely untrue.

I say, power to the women who are strong enough to be themselves and love themselves just as they are, curves or not, chiseled cheekbones or not. We are all beautiful in our own way.  And hopefully the clothing designers will wake up to that fact sooner rather than later!

One response to “A Rant Against Victoria’s Secret Swimwear Catalog

  1. Susan says:

    What a great aritcle, I completely agree with the points you made, which is why I don’t shop at Victoria’s Secret very often! I think that everyone, no matter what shape, size, color, etc. cna look great in a swimsuit. It’s all about enhancing the areas you love about your body & being confident. Here are some great swim style tips for truly flattering results!

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