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everything the brand promotes. It remains to be seen whether the company can shed these elements

Time:2019-08-23 20:05Underwear site information Click:

Show fashion Secret Victorias Should

August 16, 2019 | Sophie Hayssen | Violence against women

Victoria's Secret should cancel its annual Fashion Show

Wmc Fbomb Victorias Secret Fashion Show Wikimedia 81619

Model Jasmine Tookes at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

On July 30, model Shanina Shaik revealed that Victoria's Secret canceled this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The company has not confirmed Shaik's statements, but it seems canceling the event would be appropriate given the scandals the company has faced this year — not to mention decades of profiting off of the objectification and sexualization of women's bodies.

The most recent scandal involving Victoria's Secret revolved around the company's tie to Jeffrey Epstein, the recently-deceased billionaire hedge fund manager charged with sex trafficking and abusing underage girls. Epstein posed as a model recruiter for the brand in the mid-90s to feed his sexual predation, according to The New York Times. He did so while serving as the financial adviser and right-hand man to Les Wexner — the CEO of L Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret — for 20 years, according to Bloomberg. 

In a July letter to L Brands employees, Wexner said he was "NEVER aware of the illegal activity charged in the indictment." The Times reports, however, that two senior executives alerted Wexner that Epstein was posing as a recruiter. Wexner not only failed to act but allegedly allowed Epstein to use his Manhattan home as a site for abuse. After Epstein was first charged with multiple counts of molestation and unlawful sexual activity with a minor in 2006, it still took Wexner 18 months to cut ties with him officially.

Victoria's Secret's failure to publicly admonish their ties to these men preserves a predatory hierarchy that protects abusers over victims. Especially now that the company's connection to Jeffrey Epstein has been brought to light, canceling the VSFS would signal an appropriate shift in the company's values. Now the company must reckon with the ways it breeds toxicity, including in the fashion show itself.

There's arguably nothing wrong with women modeling lingerie in and of itself. But any company that puts on an event designed to capitalize off of them doing so should ensure that they at least convey some respect for those women. Beneath the guise of highlighting the brand's new merchandise, Victoria Secret's Fashion Show's real purpose is to objectify and profit off of, the company's "Angels." This exclusive set of models who strut the catwalk in over-the-top lingerie have earned , and without them, the VSFS likely couldn't turn a profit. And the show does turn a profit: stated that the show costs $12 million, but after licensing the show to CBS for $1 million, earning $200,000 from each ad, and receiving $25,000 from each corporate sponsor of the show, the event more than breaks even.

The public has responded similarly. On August 6, more than 100 models, including former Angel Doutzen Kroes, took a stand and signed an open letter to Victoria's Secret published by advocacy group Model Alliance. The letter is addressed to the company's current CEO John Mehas and calls on him to protect models against sexual assault, rape, and sex trafficking. It also asks them to join Model Alliance's RESPECT program, which trains companies to protect models against sexual harassment. The letter notes that while the allegations of Epstein's connection to Wexner, "may not have been aimed at Victoria's Secret directly, it is clear that [the] company has a crucial role to play in remedying the situation." 

In the past couple weeks, Victoria's Secret has made several attempts to address concerns about their company's culture. They recently hired their first transgender model and longtime Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek "retired" after he made transphobic comments. While this is a good first step, the company will need to take a critical look at its leadership and, moreover, everything the brand promotes. It remains to be seen whether the company can shed these elements, which once seemed so essential to its brand DNA. One thing, however, is sure: the culture of protecting abusers — in Victoria's Secret and far beyond — has to change. 

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