Hey y’all! Hope you’re having a good weekend. I’ve been thankful for some downtime to relax and get things done. Anyways, I have some fun Christmas content planned for y’all. But it’s going to have to wait for at least a day because God put something on my heart over the past couple days that I need to share with y’all. Between the Wonderful World of Disney Magical Holiday Celebration on Thursday night and college football yesterday, I’ve been watching ABC a lot. I’ve seen the commercial for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show multiple times, since it airs on ABC tonight. I cringe every time I see this commercial. So today I’m sharing why I refuse to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
(Photo by Emily Gardiner / Reveling Spaces)
It Promotes Poor Body Image
Nothing about the actual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show appeals to me. However the message it conveys to girls and young women is the primary reason I despise it. Televising the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on national network TV perpetuates the faulty idea that tall, thin, and voluptuous is the ideal body type for women. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating and body image issues in the past, I am extremely sensitive to cultural pressures that promote an unrealistic standard of beauty. In fact, I specifically remember how unrealistic models in clothing catalogues made me feel insecure about my body when I was a teenager.
Although God has so graciously healed me from my eating disorder and body image issues, I will always advocate against anything that promotes unhealthy body image. It breaks my heart that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is the most watched fashion show in the world. This shows that our society glorifies the tall, skinny, and busty body type that the Victoria’s Secret Angels represent. We have a long way to go in fostering a culture that encourages women to embrace their natural body type.
It Encourages Eating Disorders
Poor body image and societal pressures to conform to a so-called “ideal” thin body type facilitate eating disorders. Several years ago I scrolled through Twitter while the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was on. The tweets I saw suggested that many women felt inadequate about their bodies after watching models with little body fat and DD bra size parade across the stage. Women weren’t simply tweeting about wanting to eat healthier or start exercising more regularly. Their tweets expressed a desire to resort to drastic food restriction and over-exercising after seeing the Victoria’s Secret models with “flawless” bodies. It made me so sad to see multiple tweets from women who felt inadequate about their bodies. Many full-blown eating disorders start off with a simple desire to “lose a little bit of weight.” High school Liz is a prime example of this, and you can read more of my story here.
It Promotes a Disproportionate Focus on Outward Appearance
Okay, I get it, I’m a fashion blogger, and I frequently post pictures of myself wearing various outfits. It may seem a bit hypocritical for me to shake my head at something that focuses on outward appearance. Don’t get me wrong- I do love clothes and exercising my creativity by styling different outfits and sharing them with y’all. However, there is a difference between enjoying clothes, dressing up, and looking nice, and thinking it is the ultimate thing in life. It definitely isn’t. Your heart and how you treat others is most important. You can be the most drop-dead gorgeous person from a physical standpoint, but if you are unkind to others, that means nothing. Conversely, you may not have the most striking physical appearance from a popular culture standpoint. But if you are kind to others, that that makes you beautiful. I will share a little more later in this post about how your inner character and heart is what’s most important to God.
With the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, all the emphasis is on physical appearance. Even competitions like Miss America that some may deem as very outward focused at least include interviews, questions, and talent as part of the judging equation. In addition, Miss America has recently made a bold move to eliminate the swimsuit portion of their pageant.
No Ratings Boost From Me
So I really wish the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show didn’t air on network TV. But since ABC is unfortunately unlikely to pull it anytime soon, I will do my part and NOT tune in. I will not be one of the views who contributes to the disturbing statistic of it being the most watched fashion show in the world. I get super excited for all the fun Christmas specials that come on TV during December, but not the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. There are so many other things to watch on TV tonight. I will be parked on the Hallmark Channel!
However, I don’t want to simply leave you with reasons why I refuse to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I want to share some important reminders with y’all, in case you’re ever tempted to compare yourself to unrealistic standards like Victoria’s Secret Angels. Here we go:
There is no such thing as an ideal body type.
Your ideal body type is the one that God gave you. I am definitely a proponent of eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, a healthy weight is actually a wide range of numbers depending on your height and body frame, not a narrowly defined number. Everyone has a different metabolic “set point” that their body naturally gravitates towards. We are different, so it’s not fair to expect everyone to have the same body type.
Don’t focus on the number on the scale.
Rather than focusing on what the scale says, focus on how you feel. The weight at which you are the happiest and healthiest is unique to YOU and should be based on how you feel, not social pressure for the scale to read a certain number. In fact, I actually don’t weight myself except when I go to the doctor. It’s one self-care measure I take to avoid relapse into an eating disorder.
Exercise for health, not for looks.
As a former competitive swimmer, and health & exercise science major in college, I am absolutely an advocate for regular physical activity. But exercise should be done in moderation, and the focus should be on being healthy, not on achieving a certain look. Also, find something you enjoy. If you hate running, then find something else to do. Walking at a brisk pace that elevates your heart rate is sufficient for health benefits. In addition, don’t feel like you have to do the latest trendy exercise thing either. If Crossfit isn’t your jam, no worries. Plenty of other options are out there! Also, be sure to properly refuel your body with adequate food after exercising.
Don’t label food as “good” or “bad.”
Yes, it’s very true that some foods are healthier than others. However, any food can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet in moderation. Eating plans that completely eliminate certain categories of food (other than to manage allergies or pre-exisiting health conditions) can promote a restrictive and obsessive mindset around eating. This is why you won’t ever find me doing Whole 30 or paleo. Focus on eating healthy most of the time, but allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy treats on a regular basis.
God looks at the heart.
This past week in my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class, we discussed the story where Samuel anoints David as king. David was a very unlikely choice in the eyes of man. In fact, David’s father presented all seven of David’s older brothers to Samuel before before bringing David to him. Samuel passed by all of David’s brothers because God told him, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Samuel knew that David was a man after God’s own heart, and therefore his inner character made him the best choice to be king of the Israelites.
This BSF lesson was such a great reminder to me to have a balanced perspective in my vision for this blog. As much as I enjoy sharing fashion finds, styling tips, outfit inspiration, and good sales with y’all, I also desire for this space to be more than just another fashion blog. I strive to create content that inspires your wardrobe, but also on a deeper level emotionally and spiritually. I desire to be authentic and relatable. Also, I want y’all to know that I’m not perfect, and neither is my life.
You are so much more.
Last but definitely not least, remember that you are so much more than a number on the scale. You are so much more than your clothing size. And you are so much more than your bra size. You are a beautiful and unique individual fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Whenever you find yourself feeling like you measure short of a culturally defined standard of beauty, take these words from Psalm 139 to heart:
“For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
(Photo by Amelia Cassar Photography)
Thanks so much for reading. It was really important to me to share with y’all why I refuse to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I hope that this post encouraged you to focus on health rather than weight, and to embrace your God-given body type. Most importantly, I hope it reminded you that your worth is found in Christ, and not a number on the scale.
Although I’m no substitute for professional help, please don’t hesitate to email me or DM me on Instagram if you struggle with body image issues. I’m more than happy to listen to you and pray for you.