This article is not about criticizing Victoria's Secret Models. Rather, it is about understanding what is real and what is not. And, how the image is presented to women around the world. It is not a question of beauty, but a question of health, and what you choose to aspire to.
|These are the Victoria's Secret Models (Adrianna Lima [BMI of 17.6], Candice Swanepoel [BMI of 17.7] and Alessandro Ambrosio [BMI of 16.3]) in person, unedited, behind the scenes of a Victoria's Secret shot.|
The typical stereotype in the fashion world and out of it is: "Oh, those run way models are far too skinny!" But, when it comes to magazine models, like those of Victoria's Secret, the model's bodies are ones to aspire to. Why the difference? For years, even I thought: Victoria's Secret models really do have nice, voluptuous bodies. Until I took a closer look. So, take a look closer with me...
I realized that, not only are they unhealthily skinny on the website, but that the women are actually skinnier in person. Yes, that's right. Most of us have watched the video in middle school in which a "normal," average-sized woman was made to be much more slender, and much more beautiful with tools such as: photoshop, lighting, makeup, etc. Now? Models are made to be larger (see: the Dove Commercial that mirrors this photoshop process, and
Candice Swanepoel Make Over, before and after). Many of the Victoria's Secret models are actually skinnier in real life, so much so that they appear to be emaciated. Others are pictured to be just as skinny as they truly are: dangerously underweight.
What happened to bodies like those of Penelope Cruz and Sofia Lauren, even Marilyn Monroe, all sex-idols with perfectly normal, healthy bodies. Why is the showing of bone so popular? It is almost as though women, and men, are taught that the normal, beautiful woman is as skinny as the Victoria's Secret model just because she is posed in a way that makes her seem more curvy. But, when you look a little closer, you'll realize that her ribs still show too much, her arms seem sharply angled and emaciated, the thighs are not strong, smaller at the top of the leg than in the middle (an abnormal quality for women, who naturally develop fat at the top of the thighs).
Some even show signs of bulimia with large jaws, thick lips (which develops when one throws up continuously). When you look closely, what was once "perfection" becomes a mess of skeleton.
To solidify the facts, the bombshell Candice Swanepoel, thought to be the body of perfection, is far too under weight. She is 5 foot 9, and is a little less than 120 pounds. This makes her Body Mass Index (BMI) about 17.7, far too underweight. Underweight BMI's are 18.5 or less. Alessandra Ambrosio is 5 foot 9.5, and weighs 112 pounds, making her BMI 16.3, extremely underweight and unhealthy. To emphasize how underweight these models really are, how their bodies are not actually so perfect, look further. Some doctors even consider a BMI under 17.5 as automatically anorexic (or with a severe health deficiency).
2. Victoria's Secret Model, Alessandra Ambrosio.
3. Victoria's Secret Model, Doutzen Kroes.
5. Victoria's Secret Model, Candice Swanepoel
"Candice is so hot! The woman I used to think of as the ideal woman until I realized what her body truly is like. I used to wish I could look like her. Now, I just want to feed her."
|Before photoshop, and other such adjustments, (to the Left) vs. what is shown on the site after photoshop (to the Right). At this shoot, Candice was quoted to say, "With lingerie, you have to be more conscious of your body." Below, Candice Swanepoel, is pictured behind the scenes. Though it is documented that she is 120 pounds, in this picture, she appears to be closer to 110, making her BMI: 16.2, dangerously underweight.|
Feel free to contact columnists at Unleashed. To understand more about what is a healthy body and about BMI health ranges, ask your doctor!
Women in the World and the Ripple Effect Section, Sasha Martin:
I made my own major, The Nature of Emotion as investigated through literature, psychology, anthropology, cognitive science and other interdisciplinary fields, and am minoring in Creative Writing. I created Unleashed for the general empowerment and knowledge of women and men everywhere, and continue to be involved as editor, designer and writer. I am an editorial and PR intern for City Lights. I happen to love the Unleashed staff quite dearly, as well as readers like you. It's amazing what words can do! Feel free to email me at Unleashed. I hope you enjoy!