Last week, Victoria’s Secret was forced to change its slogan, “The Perfect ‘Body’,” which depicted thin, tall and mostly white models. The company’s new slogan now reads, “A Body for Every Body.” Yes, you read that correctly, and no, it doesn’t make much sense.
A Change.org petition prompted the switch, as the site claimed the company’s slogan promoted “unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty,” inherently “aimed at making (women) feel insecure.”
As of today, the Change.org petition has more than 30,000 signatures.
The petition also encouraged supporters to take to Twitter to voice their disapproval by tagging the company and using the #IAmPerfect hashtag. Tweets ranged from shaming Victoria’s Secret’s marketing tactics and imagery to calling for it to take corrective action.
Despite the brisk, overnight adjustment, the issue has yet to be addressed, and the apology sought by the petition’s creators has not materialized. The writers of the petition considered the slogan change to be but a small victory. The petition’s update reads,
We still want [Victoria’s Secret] to change all the posters in their stores, apologize and pledge to not use such harmful marketing in the future.
The new slogan, which Victoria’s Secret undoubtedly chose rather quickly and under great pressure, continues to use the original image. Rather than address its marketing slip, the company opted to change the campaign’s wording while still propagating the very essence of the original through associated images.
Perhaps this is the company’s not-so-subliminal way to stand by its original intention.
It can even be argued that despite the slogan switch, the majority of people who will pass the ad will still be influenced and persuaded into buying the company’s take on “the perfect body.” The image was seemingly kept to continue illustrating the company’s stance on how the female form should look.
Victoria’s Secret’s reluctance to even attempt to mirror reality is evident in its reduction of female physical and racial diversity into a constraining, repetitious stereotype.
In response to this public relations disaster, Dear Kate, a lingerie company, decided to “showcase women who are often neglected by the media and traditional retailers” through its own adaptation of the Victoria’s Secret campaign.
Dear Kate repurposed the previously discarded slogan, “The Perfect ‘Body’,” by placing it over an image of women of various races, heights, body types and even (gasp) hairstyles.
Each pictured woman is unique and stands out from the women around her, which further rejects the cookie-cutter depiction of women in the media.
An additional change to the slogan is the absence of quotation marks around the term “body” in Dear Kate’s adaptation. The Bodies, sans quotation marks, portray a myriad of more relatable and identifiable women.
The pictures the two companies utilized convey two very distinct approaches to reaching their target audiences. One calls out to all women, while the other attempts to push uniformity through unrealistic and unachievable standards of beauty and health.
Perhaps the one thing Victoria’s Secret won’t keep to itself is its continued propagation of what the company considers to be the ideal woman: tall, skinny, Photoshopped and, often, white.