Dear Victoria’s Secret,
I’m writing to you today to request that you be consistent in your marketing and the consequent message you are sending your consumers. I can’t speak for all of them but I, for one, am lost.
For the past few months my email inbox has been flooded with Photoshop-laden advertisements for your new “Bombshell” push-up bra, which is guaranteed to increase a woman’s bust by two cup sizes. The bra comes in sizes starting at 32AA and going to 38DD.
(In this letter, I’m not going to address the glaring fact that women come in more shapes and sizes than just the ones you sell. By now you should already be aware of how preposterous this is.)
Now, I work in marketing so I can kind of understand the thinking behind this product. We live in a culture where breasts are viewed as “the bigger, the better.” (Though don’t you dare have a body with complimenting proportions to big boobs. Then you’re just fat and therefore a disgrace.) But wait, ladies! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the heroic Victoria’s Secret swooping in with a product that is sure to be the answer to the hardships small-chested women face each day.
Now you TOO can be a “bombshell!”
Via this new product, you’re suggesting that women can only be considered to be “bombshells” if they increase their bust by at least two cup sizes. A woman surely can’t be a “bombshell” at her natural size and shape. She must be modified to fit into some sort of “bombshell” mold. If you think that this is just a “bra” and not a “message” with no actual repercussions, I beg you to reconsider the message you’re subtly conveying.
Don’t believe me? Well…
As a woman who has never really needed a push-up bra (I’m a 36D) I thought I’d try on the “Bombshell” bra for fun. (After all, who doesn’t want to be a bombshell?)
The result? I LOOKED RIDICULOUS. I looked as if I were smuggling party balloons in my shirt. I didn’t look like a “bombshell.” I looked completely unnatural. If I were to wear that bra out in public, I would most definitely turn heads, but not in the way Victoria’s Secret suggests. People would rubberneck not to whistle and cat call but rather to ask themselves, “How much do you think she paid for those? I mean, she doesn’t look particularly wealthy, but those are so fake. Who does she think she’s fooling?”
So. Not only am I not a bombshell at my normal size. But now, I’m not even a bombshell in a bra that promises to make me a bombshell.
How would you feel, VS, if this was you? What do you think this would do to your view of yourself?
Right after I got married I decided to buy some lingerie. Since I’m pretty naive, the only establishment I’m aware of that sells sexy lingerie is you, Victoria’s Secret. When I walked in the store, I felt really uncomfortable trying on anything that I saw on stick-thin mannequins, but I pushed through it. I finally found one piece that I thought was not only sexy, but also really pretty. I thought I’d look really good in it and I was so excited! I started scouring the racks for my size, but I couldn’t find it. I grabbed one of your sweet saleswomen and asked her politely, “Excuse me, but do you have this in a 36D?”
“I’m sorry,” she replied. “This line isn’t made that big.”
I was shocked. “Why’s that?” I asked, trying to remain calm.
“I’m not sure, ” she shrugged. “It’s our ‘Sexy Little Things’ line. It just doesn’t come that big. So sorry.”
Victoria’s Secret, you lost me.
- I can only be sexy (a “bombshell,” if you will) by increasing my bust by at least two cup sizes.
- But I can’t wear “sexy little” lingerie because my bust is just too big.
So. This where the consistency of your message is faulty. Bigger is better, but only if it’s fake and super padded. Real big (the born-with-it-real-big) like myself isn’t sexy.
Where do I fit? What do I have to do to be sexy? Because at this point, all I know is that I can’t do so by wearing anything you sell. Guess I’ll just have to be sexy by being me.
Lindsay Durrenberger, a natural-born bombshell.
(insert middle finger here.)