Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Victoria's Not So Sure About Her Secret

I was supposed to get my bitch in the mail this afternoon.

Bitch. You know, the magazine?

Instead, when I unfurled the stack of bills, crap masquerading as bills, and bills masquerading as crap, I found Victoria's Secret.

You know, the catalogue?

I looked at the cover for a second. Then I looked at it again.

Folks, I was terrified.

This is ostensibly a magazine targeted at straight women.

It looks like "lesbian" porn made for straight guys.

18-year-old me is not amused. 

Yeah, I know.

But WHY?

Do I have sex hair?

There are many things this photo says to me.

None of them involve me wanting to have what she's having.

When I see these women in these magazines, I think they're sexy. They're attractive. But they're not for me, are they?

They're supposed to be a woman's physical ideal. What you can look like if only you buy that tiny teddy. Which makes it even weirder that they're giving me, their (presumably) straight reader, such bedroom eyes.

She clearly wants you in her bed. Yes, you. 
I guess it's not too weird, if you don't think about it.

Victoria's Secret just wants to sell what society has decided constitutes sexy clothes and undergarments.
What's the best way to advertise that these clothes are sexy?

Show sexy people wearing the sexy clothes while projecting as much sex appeal as possible.

It seems so self-explanatory.

Unless, of course, you're a woman attracted to women.

Then, it's just really fucking confusing.

On one level, I can understand that the photos are idealized images meant to get straight women to buy shit. On another, I feel attracted to them and yet understand that I'm not the target audience for this attraction.

Now, I don't want to malign the choices of any other lady-lovin' lady, but when I see these pictures they're more of a turn-off than anything.

Because women know what it takes to look that good.

It takes tanning beds.

It takes a styling team.

It takes the longest, thinnest bodies and even then it takes the highest heels.

Sometimes it takes plastic surgery.

It takes long-ass acrylic nails, and lady-lovin' ladies certainly don't wear those.

You know why.

Think about it.

This is not to say that these women aren't real.

Their images are airbrushed, certainly. But they are women who have won what our society sees as the genetic lottery. And I'm personally fed up with shoving groups of women under the bus in pursuit of the "real" woman.

Real women have curves.

Real women don't.

Get the picture?

Coming back from that brief tangent, I'm trying to say that these women are clearly being targeted as ideal representations from the male point of view because the patriarchy wants men to think that women just look like that.


More on Teh Patriarchy later.

Women who love women look like a lot of different things, but far fewer than you think look like the women above.

As the kids would say, "sick."

This is Robyn.

She's a Swedish popstar.

My gaydar was pinging all over the place with this one, but she's actually confirmed she's straight.

Now, if the models of Victoria's Secret looked like her, I'd likely be feeling a lot less cognitive dissonance while looking at the magazine.

I think it'd be pretty difficult to convince me that Robyn isn't sexy. Even if you're not attracted to her, you can't deny that she has that raw fierce quality that just can't be airbrushed out. She's herself. She doesn't take shit.

To me, this is queer.

You can be gay or bi and not be queer.

Queer is breaking boundaries in any way you can. It's fire and glitter and twisting under and over fences.

Queer is used as a verb nowadays. "I like how she queers cinema," I might say about a filmmaker. Or "I'm trying to queer the gothic romance."

On the most surface level, this can mean breaking expected norms of romantic attachment by making a same-sex couple the center of a novel.

On a deeper level, it can mean questioning the validity of the very term "same-sex".

Queer rejects stability, not because it's bourgeois (although I'm sure some people reject it for that very reason) but because stability tends to mold things into patterns, and patterns tend to solidify oppression.

This doesn't mean we're running all over the place screaming our flaming little heads off (although, again, I'm sure it does for some people.)

We work to make the world a place for EVERYONE to LIVE.

So, Victoria's Secret.

I'm probably better off not knowing, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I like when J. Crew uses "real" people (that is, not models) in their catalogues. Of course, there are still problems - like the fact that the "real" people they choose tend to adhere pretty closely to the same physical ideal anyway ... more so for the women than the men. But it's still a nice change.