Why I Won't Shop at Victoria's SecretWarning: if you are a conservative dude (or my Dad) this post might make you blush. There be mention of boobies here. Also, this is not intended to be a condemnation of those that do shop at Victoria's Secret, but rather a critique of some deeper issues the store presents according to my perceptions.
I used to shop at Victoria's Secret quite a bit. It was my go-to place for intimate apparel. I liked the yummy smelling lotions and pink and white striped walls. It lured me in with its girly mystique. Just walking out of the store with that distinctive pink and black bag made me feel like I was announcing to all the other mall patrons that I was one sexy vixen. Rawr!
Before I got married, I had, or so I was told by other females, a nice sized rack. (I am totally not trying to brag here, I consider big boobs a curse.) I didn't need the extreme pusher upper bras, or the heavily padded ones, and I noticed it was hard to find ones that weren't like that at Victoria's Secret. Early on, I suspected they weren't entirely catering to a truly curvy girl.
Then I got pregnant and my boobs went from "nice" to "damn, girl!" I went to Victoria Secrets to get a new bra only to learn I was suddenly outside their size range. Kind of a crushing realization. It made me feel like I was now outside the bracket of what was deemed appropriately sexy. You think those Victoria's Secret angels are big, until you yourself are bigger, and then they look like 15 year old girls arching their backs in desperation to make their boobs look more prominent.
Now that I was outside of Victoria's Secret looking in, I began to see it in a different light. The commercials with the heart pounding music and mouth agape girls. The oversized posters of size 0 models in the store windows, head titled back, tousled bedroom hair, hooded vacant eyes. All that pink. All those teeny little bra's designed to make their wearers look 2 times bigger.
It hit me. Victoria's secret is that she isn't for women. She's for men. To me, the store is designed to sell us an illusion of what sexy is and should be. Sexual availability and big boobs (but only big in proportion to a skinny girl) are what they market. It's sexiness from a male's point of view. Which is the only pov we ought to care about when dressing in our intimates, apparently. Comfort, and a well-made, supportive bra are secondary to buying the idea that we are sexually appealing to a man.
I am not saying that desiring to be, feel, or look sexy is bad. I'm saying that message that our sexiness is set by a male standard is ultimately going to make us feel insecure, thus driving us to stores like Victoria Secret to buy their cure for what we supposedly lack. We are buying into the idea that our enjoyment of sex is based primarily on whether or not the man is enjoying it. His pleasure is the priority.
Really, this isn't even so much about Victoria's Secret. That I won't shop there anymore is just my expression of learning to put myself first; above what culture tells me I should be. My value does not lie in being a sexual object to a man. No woman should feel that way.
It reminds me of several years ago, when at an early morning ballroom dance practice, I joked to the people around me that I hadn't shaved my legs that day. I must've felt self conscious and was using humor to deflect. This was after I had married Greg, and a young man standing near me made the comment that most women after marriage let themselves go in that way.
This hurt and angered me. The idea that not shaving my legs was letting myself go rankled. Let myself go according to who? Him? That because I'd landed a man I must not care about pleasing men any more, and not pleasing men amounts to letting yourself go? In that boys eyes, I was of less value not only because I was off the market, but because I wasn't pandering to his idea of what a woman should do with her body.
And the worst part is that it got it to me. That feeling that I had to continually fulfill those standards in order to be relevant.
With time, and mounting impatience with the womanly check list, you come to ask yourself, does this make ME happy? Examine whether or not your answers are based on what is best for you, or if they're based on an appeal to a male's pov. Some of us may not even know how to separate the two. It took me a while to figure that out for myself.
Women are all too often shoving our feet into uncomfortable shoes, propping our boobs up higher, ripping our hair out in the most sensitive of places, wearing uncomfortable clothes, constantly fighting and battling our bodies. We are measuring our happiness, our worth, and our pleasure, by his.
And I say: screw it.
If you have to torture and fight your body for any man's attention, he's a douche.
If telling him you shop at Victoria's Secret makes his eyes light up, he's been sold a bill of goods, and so have you.
As for me, I have discovered bra's made with me only in mind. Bra's that make me feel like a woman, not a preening little girl angling for a boys attention. Chantelle is a brand I love. They are pretty and feminine and well made. They aren't sold in bright pink shops be-decked with 20 year olds in angel wings, but I can happily live without that. As they say, all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes the glitter is just a gilded cage.
Last modified: 2019-04-22 08:08:05
Name: Greg Bramwell (367 weeks ago)
Comments are now working, sorry for the delay :)
Name: Jo (367 weeks ago) utahcountyskeptics.blogspot.com
Yay! Now I can say right on your blog that I love this post! Well said, Hillary!
Name: Kate (366 weeks, 6 days ago) www.courtandkate.blogspot.com
Screw VS. I soaked this one up. You are a blogging genius sister.
Name: Heretic Homemaker (366 weeks, 6 days ago) www.homemakingforheretics.blogspot.com
I love this post so much that I want to shave my legs for it. ;) Seriously though, this is really a very insightful piece that you have written. We (both men and women) have become blind to sexism that we all support consciously and unconsciously everyday. We need to start seeing it and calling it what it is.
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