Tonight is the CBS televised premiere of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Hooray? HOORAY! I am excited. Watching stunning models strut in million-dollar bras is just one of my multitude of impressive pastimes... Didn't you know?
However, if you are like my mother and "do not give a shit", that is absolutely acceptable. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (VSFS, for short) is one of the most controversial aspects of the fashion world. Many argue that the show promotes a devastatingly detrimental example of body image to women and young girls (Victoria's Secret's intended audience) and also been declared exponentially "anti-feminist". Regardless of opinion, over ten million viewers will have their eyes glued to a screen tonight as both Adriana and Alessandra flaunt their Fantasy bras and flash their mega-watt smiles. Will you be one of the millions?
Personally, my relationship with Victoria's Secret is not anything exciting -- Although I am fond of their underwear deals, I haven't been able to fit into their bras since eighth grade, and I still haven't been able to convince Victoria to tell me her goddamn secret. I believe that the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is enthralling, probably because I am able to enjoy it without feeling self-conscious. Standing at 5'3", I am at least a foot shorter than all of the Angels; it is genetically-impossible for me to transform into Karlie Kloss, no matter how many cookies I eat or boxing lessons I take. So why bother trying to be something I am not? The models featured in the lineup train intensively to prepare; if you were paid to dance to Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande singing live, wearing heavy wings and a skimpy thong, wouldn't you want to be in the best shape possible? No seventeen-year-old girl I know moonlights as an Angel, so my message to you, as matronly as it may be, is to watch the show tonight whilst eating ice cream. With extra whipped cream. Behati celebrates with pizza, and Doutzen wants French fries. Your nearly-naked body isn't going to be plastered across millions of television screens tonight like theirs are, so indulge -- you will look just as good as any Angel when you wear your Victoria's Secret swimsuit on your vacation to the Galapagos in a few weeks over holiday break. And, you get to eat ice cream. WIN WIN!
Instead of body-shaming yourself as each model parades around with her own set of wings, look at the Victoria's Secret Fashion show as I do -- as an exciting aspect of the pop-culture-crazed society we thrive in. Each and every model in the VSFS lineup is stunning, and the company is exponentially more racially-inclusive than typical high-fashion brands. While their rock-hard abs and sky-high legs might not be representative of any population, models like Cindy Bruna, Joan Smalls, Sui Hei, and Ming Xi walking alongside Stella Maxwell, Josephine Skriver, Behati Prinsloo, and Devon Windsor depicts a beautiful portrait of the unique world we live in. Celebrating diversity, as well as personality and confidence, is what I think the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is all about. Being the feminist I am, I understand how women thrusting themselves into the limelight of objectification can be viewed as "anti-feminist" but I choose to approach from a different angle. These women make thousands -- even millions -- of dollars as capable, confident career-women. They are choosing to flaunt the bodies they've slaved away in the gym for and have fun while doing it. Feminism is all about equality; women's rights are human rights, and if a bunch of hot men wanted to jump on stage and sport their own thongs, I wouldn't necessarily complain. Would you? Blaming the global epidemic of poor self-esteem in females on a lingerie fashion show is extreme; Candice Swanepoel's incredible figure isn't the cause of every girl's eating disorder. As a society our standards of beauty need to change to be more accepting and widespread. I would be ecstatic to see inspirations like Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham, and Robyn Lawley sporting wings next year. Isn't that something we would all love to see?
And, if you want to see me tonight, I will be on my couch. In sweatpants. Watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS at 10/9 Central. With dairy-free ice cream. Care to join?
Adriana Lima photographed by Tommy Ton for Style.com.