Victoria’s Secret is currently combatting controversy triggered by one of its advertisements that led to mass online criticism last week, and some UF students are part of the critics.
The company changed an advertisement portraying 10 models with lingerie from the “Body” by Victoria collection that carried the label “The Perfect ‘Body,’” to a label of “A Body for Every Body” on Wednesday, supposedly as a result of intense Internet backlash.
“I think that they changed it just for PR purposes,” said Melisa Figueroa, a 20-year-old UF public relations junior. “But I don’t think that their initial intention was negative.”
The former phrase was intended to represent the line of bras and underwear, but the Internet took it as a dangerous insinuation of a standard of perfection shared by the models with similarly sized figures.
Figueroa said using a slew of the most recognizable top models might not be the wisest way to promote a collection designed to make women feel like they have the perfect body, no matter what they look like.
The former Victoria’s Secret employee hosts events at UF as a campus representative for PINK, a branch of the company.
“We would never tell someone that they’re not good enough for the brand,” she said, “because we’ve seen everyone of all shapes and sizes come in and find something perfect for them.”
One loud criticism came from three UK women who racked up more than 30,000 signatures for a petition on Change.org
, demanding the company apologize and reconsider its unrealistic standards for women.
The petitioners also began the hashtag #iamperfect, which resulted in thousands of tweets responding to the brand’s exclusive marketing.
President of the UF Women’s Student Association Diamond Delancy said the hashtag gives protesters a voice, saying, “‘Hey look, Victoria’s Secret; look at me, I don’t look like that, so are you saying I don’t have the perfect body? And I don’t need your stamp of approval of what beauty is.’”
The 19-year-old public relations and women’s studies junior said she saw this controversy as an outlet for a change.
Delancy said she saw the collection’s original slogan as harmful to women and young girls because no one looks like that, not even the professional models who go through Photoshop for an airbrushed finish.
“Our bodies are always being shamed either by media or each other,” she said. “With social media, you have much more people willing to participate and share their thoughts and not be quiet about these things anymore.”