Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Consumerism and Body Image

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The infamous Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is anything but a fashion show. It takes the basic female necessity of bras and underwear, injects it with steroids, glitter, and millions of dollars, and creates a cultural phenomenon that is spectated by almost 10 million viewers. By adding A-list musical performances, embellishing every garment with Swarovski crystals, and encouraging normally stoic models to smile wave and blow kisses, Victoria's Secret broadcasts a variety show during the busiest shopping time of the year to not only sell their undergarments, but the lifestyle that is implied to go along with them. The majority of the garments that sashay down the runway are priced way out of the range of purchase for the typical viewer. However, the behind the scenes moments sprinkled into the broadcast give the people tuning in a feel that they are being included into the secret world of the Victoria's Secret Angel and closer to that lifestyle than they actually are.


File:VSfashionshow1.jpg 2011 Fashion Show

The now internationally broadcasted media event had humble beginnings. In 1999 the fashion show was shown to the world via webcast and raked in over 2 million internet viewers which can most likely be credited to a countdown promo aired during Super Bowl XXXIII. The show secured its current slot on CBS just weeks before Christmas in 2002 being easily accessed by the masses and having the ultimate time placement to encourage viewers to add Victoria's Secret products to their Christmas wish lists. Surprisingly, the parade of scantily clad supermodels' viewership is over 60% women between the ages of 16-44 which rises the question, how does viewing this spectacle make women feel about swiping their credit cards and putting the lingerie on themselves?

Because the Fashion Show is film it differs from the print media that usually allows for the airbrushing and editing of the supermodels who sport the lingerie, right? Wrong. Many of the Victoria's Secret Angels have disclosed the shocking information that before they are allowed to hit the runway approximately 8 layers of cover-up and bronzer are applied to their exposed behinds to ensure that any dimple or imperfection be totally concealed. Angel Adriana Lima famously disclosed her Fashion Show diet this year: no solid food in the nine days leading up to the taping and no water in the 12 hours before. Hopefully most of the women who tune into the show have caught wind of this intelligence, in order to bypass the self-loathing for not resembling the skinny yet busty models and instead feeling sympathy for them having to partake in such insane practices. However their efforts don't go unnoticed, being that the average model earns $10,000 for the Fashion Show alone.

File:VSlima.jpg Adriana Lima: The Dehydrated Diva

Now the marketing executives for Victoria's Secret didn't just happen to choose to air the show in late November or early December. It is a strategic plan to get consumers into the VS stores or onto the website for their holiday shopping needs. Anyone who has wandered into a Victoria's Secret during Fashion Show season can find a variety of products including the exact robe that the models wear backstage, available for purchase at a slightly elevated price, just because it bears the "VS Fashion Show" logo. Adding behind the scenes interviews and vignettes with the models gives viewers a peek into the lifestyle of a woman who wears Victoria's Secret and aims to entice them to want to partake in the fun. The musical performances by internationally popular guests only adds to the draw of the Fashion Show. This year's show features Kanye West, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj; all superstars who top the Billboard 100 Charts. The artists performances bring the audience to their feet and inspire the models to essentially bounce down the runway throwing out kisses to all, giving the viewer a look at a party that they may be invited to, if they get up and purchase a Victoria's Secret Pink jumpsuit.

By: Brittany Post

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