Group Protests Semi-Naked Outside Victoria’s Secret To Insist They Make Lingerie For All Shapes & Sizes

Not everyone who wears lingerie is “bombshell” sized like the famous Victoria’s Secret commercial says. We don’t all want to add two cup sizes to our bust nor do all of us women want to get more attention in our underwear. So its pretty clear that perhaps the underwear chain famous for spawning household names such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr and Doutzen Kroes are only marketing to a small niche of body shapes: tall and slim with average bust that could do with a boost.

Instead of just finding another lingerie chain to buy their skivvies from, a group out of San Francisco called ‘About Face’ decided to do something about this issue and get the attention of Victoria’s Secret. They want to force chains like VS, and Abercrombie and Fitch who have either been outspoken in not marketing for all body types, or clearly showing it through their marketing, that they will not stand for it this exclusivity. They want these companies to recognize the need to diversify their products for all body types.

On Saturday June 15, the group invited public supporters of their mission to strip down to their underwear, station themselves outside the Victoria’s Secret store in Union Square and sign a ‘body pledge’. The called it ‘Operation Real Bodies Real Love’  and their message is that you can be proud of your body even in the face of the unrealistic bodies we see in the media.

They also want to challenge the public’s perceptions of their own bodies, encouraging them to accept and love their bodies for what they are. The group feels the chain portrays a body image that’s unrealistic. Protesters say not everyone can be a size one with great curves.

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About-Face is a non-profit which equips women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect their self-esteem and body image. They have very strong reasons for doing what they do. “Western culture’s emphasis on stereotypes of women and girls, and thinness as the beauty ideal, is a risk factor for depression, negative mood, and binge eating. In turn, dieting is linked with eating disorders.” it says on their website.

They are aware of how powerful the media is and how damaging it can be for young men and women who have unrealistic ideals thrust upon them from an early age. They have developed programs, workshops and strategies to help people combat these, make smart choices about their consumerism and be able to decode potentially harmful messages.

Interestingly, the woman who designed their evaluation process for all their workshops is non other than UCLA PhD student Kjerstin Gruys, who just released a book documenting her experiment of going without a mirror for an entire year, which included her own wedding.

About-Face wants to make people feel good about their bodies, no matter what they look like. Staging a protest like this certainly got the attention of the media, and we hope in turn it will provoke makers of the brand, as well as some of it most recognizable faces (and bodies??) to use their voice for change.

It seems staging protests outside the store isn’t an entirely bad thing. Earlier this year, the mother-daughter team of Debbie Barrett and Allana Maiden championed the cause of Mastectomy Bra’s outside a Victoria’s Secret store after Allana wanted her mom (a breast cancer survivor) to feel beautiful and find a bra that fitted her despite her unique body transformation. We are yet to see the results of these, but Limited Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret took notice and promised to work on a line of Mastectomy Bras to make even breast cancer survivors feel like a “bombshell”.

You too can sign their Body Pledge via their website and lend your voice to their mission. So far these are some of the statements supporters have voiced their opinions on:

“Hire real people to show your products and act in your movies.”

“Stop Photoshopping everything and let us see what real beauty is.”

“Stop the negative and self-hating articles and start writing about people who are doing good things in the world – no matter how small as that is what really changes the world.”

“I want to see more people of color in advertisements/fashion.”

We couldn’t agree more with AF’s promotion of healthy body images and breaking down negative media messages. They say on their website “you DON’T have to put up with media that makes you feel bad [about yourself].” Instead, find ways that you can make a change for yourself and for others.

About Face protest

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