By Taylor Bynion
Editor-in-Chief, Taylor Bynion, turns the tables and writes a letter from the editor in Bynion’s Opinion.
Spending time with my younger cousins is one of my favorite things to do, followed up closely by browsing at the mall – combine the two and you have my ideal afternoon. So, when my cousin suggested that we go to the mall together, it sounded like the perfect outing. We stopped in every store, from Francescas to The Rack and Macy’s in between. However, when we suddenly came across a store with an almost naked model pictured in the window, I felt like I should cover my cousin’s eyes.
I am all for women empowerment and confidence, and the revealing advertisement on Victoria’s Secret store’s entrance is not what bothered me the most. Instead, my eyes were drawn to the tiny waist and perfectly sculpted figure. This figure was the direct result of photoshop. No body is perfect, and the willingness of the company to portray an unattainable figure while altering a woman’s body is not female empowerment in my definition.
According to the New York Post, who interviewed a previous photoshop editor for Victoria’s Secret, the editor was “asked to boost models’ bust sizes, retouch their butts to make them look curvier, airbrush out bras that were worn underneath bikinis to give a gravity-defying cleavage, and said hair extensions were a standard part of photo shoots.” With such intense modifications, how do we teach young girls, like my cousin, to be confident in the skin they are in while they are surrounded by these fake figures?
As if the extensive Photoshop wasn’t toxic enough, Victoria’s Secret models are also put under extreme pressure to look a certain way naturally. According to Time Magazine, “former Victoria’s Secret model Erin Heatherton spoke out about the pressure to maintain her image and weight.” The model “got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat,” she said.
Instead of supporting this toxicity of changing and manipulating women’s bodies, I would rather support a company like Aerie. Aerie “celebrates its community by advocating for body positivity and the empowerment of women,” according to its online mission statement. Showcasing models with disabilities and never using photoshop, Aerie demonstrates what it means to be confident in the skin you’re in.