Victoria’s new Secret … she’s a #girlboss now!
Looks like someone is getting a makeover! After a hellish few years that saw sales slump, criticism mount, and a Jeffrey Epstein scandal, Victoria’s Secret has decided it’s time for a drastic rebrand. The lingerie behemoth is jumping on the Female Empowerment™ bandwagon and has pledged to become – wait for it – “the world’s leading advocate for women.” I dunno about my fellow females, but I for one am humbled to the core that a failing underwear brand is finally going to take on such important advocacy work.
So how exactly is Victoria’s Secret going to become the “world’s leading advocate for women?” Well, it has started off by shunting a bunch of women to the side and replacing them with other, more relevant, women. Goodbye Victoria’s Secret Angels! Hello, VS Collective. The company has replaced its scantily-clad and dizzyingly-proportionated models with seven ambassadors which it describes as “accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change”. These include US soccer player Megan Rapinoe, transgender model Valentina Sampaio, and model and South Sudanese refugee Adut Akech.
No offence to the talented women in the VS Collective (I don’t blame any of them for picking up a pay check), but this rebrand feels as flimsy as a polyester thong. As a number of people have observed, Victoria’s Secret hasn’t expanded its limited size range yet although its marketing officer has said it is “leaning into” larger sizes and they will happen eventually. Call me cynical, but it also seems that that company’s new direction is born out of desperation – and a need to cleanse itself of its links to Epstein – rather than any sort of genuine embrace of inclusivity. It’s recognition that the world has changed drastically over the last couple of decades also comes laughably late.
Better late than never, of course. While I don’t buy Victoria’s Secret rebrand, it’s always good to see major companies move towards more inclusive advertising. And, to be fair, Victoria’s Secret has promised to match its new marketing with new management. Its revamped board will consist of seven directors, six of whom will be women. Whether these women will be tokens or actually have a meaningful say in the direction of the company is yet to be seen, of course.
Ultimately, though, do you know what the best thing about the Victoria’s Secret rebrand is? The fact that Megan Rapinoe is a new face of the brand is driving some rightwing men completely berserk. Rightwing podcast host Jesse Kelly, for example, had a Twitter meltdown about Rapinoe’s hire and opined that: “Nobody likes feminists. Nobody. Even other feminists hate feminists. They’re the least appealing people on the planet.” Sorry, Kelly, but multinational brands beg to differ.
Anyway, I really hope that Kelly and his pals do what conservatives do best and organize a completely bonkers boycott. I would love to see the right burning bras in order to stick it to feminism.
Who let the sexists out? WHO, WHO, WHO, WHO
The World Health Organisation would like all women of a childbearing age to back away from the booze. The organization’s draft Global Alcohol Action Plan urged governments to give “appropriate attention” to the “prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age”. Why stop there, eh? Why not outlaw all women of a childbearing age from riding bikes or driving cars in case an accident was to imperil their reproductive capabilities?
Here’s what I think we ought to really give appropriate attention to: the fact that a hell of a lot of public health messaging seems to be more about policing women’s bodies than anything else. Problem drinking is increasing among women – many of whom are using alcohol to cope rather than for pleasure – but you don’t solve that phenomenon with paternalistic guidelines that treats women as walking wombs.
Britain’s female Olympic athletes are finally getting good bras
(But not from Victoria’s Secret.) “There’s a lot of innovation in general sports kit, but that innovation hasn’t really crossed over into sports bras for women until now,” Team GB rower Vicky Thornley noted. “I think it’s really encouraging that they’re starting to think about women in that way in sport, and not just treating us as small men.”
Scotland should apologize for forced adoption
It’s estimated that 60,000 Scottish mothers were coerced into giving up their baby for adoption between the 1950s and 1980s because they were unmarried. In 2013 the Australian Government issued the world’s first Government apology for forced adoption however Scotland has never issued a formal apology. Members of Scotland’s government debated the issue this week amid increasing demands for an apology.
The women refusing to serve in the IDF
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been doing a lot of women-washing of late. A number of attractive female IDF soldiers have sparked headlines after posting weird “thirst traps” on TikTok in order to bolster Israel’s international image. Spreading nationalist propaganda is not feminism. You know what real feminism looks? It looks like Atalya Ben-Abba, a brave young Israeli woman who refused to serve in the Israeli military (and went to prison because of it) due to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Her interview with Haaretz is well worth a read. And if you aren’t familiar with the amazing story about a Taylor Swift superfan went viral for her prison-based tweets about refusing to join the IDF then please catch up on it here.
The week in penis-archy
As everyone knows the billionaire space race is all about innovation and new frontiers and science. It is absolutely not about a bunch of entitled men with enormous egos engaging in an intergalactic dick-waving competition. Still, it’s hard not to notice the fact that the rocket Jeff Bezos is travelling to space on looks alarmingly phallic. The hosts of Australia’s Today program certainly noticed and spent an entire news segment giggling over Bezos’s massive rocket.