The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show gives unrealistic body expectations

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen. And no, I don’t mean the holidays.

I mean the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  opinion

Prepare yourselves for a packed cardio room and an influx of self-deprecating tweets and Facebook statuses this week.

Every year, the obsession with the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show makes me cringe. Why? It’s incredibly unrealistic.

Adriana Lima, who has been a Victoria’s Secret angel since 2000, caused a stir before the 2011 show when she told the United Kingdom’s “Daily Telegraph” that for nine days before the show, she only drinks protein shakes and works out twice a day. Then, for the 12 hours prior to the show, she does not eat or drink anything.

What a horrible example for any girl struggling with a body image disorder. No wonder the South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates eight million Americans have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, according to SCDMH. They are the last thing we should be promoting. No, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show isn’t directly responsible for the decisions of young women, but it certainly doesn’t help the cause.

SCDMH lists anorexia as the third most common chronic illness for adolescents. If these models are what young girls are aspiring to be like, it’s no wonder there is a body image issue in America.

Models Joan Smalls and Andreea Diaconu also tweeted about burning 862 and 1,080 calories, respectively, after their workouts. It’s important to remember how hard they work to prepare. That many calories takes some hard work at the gym.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch the show, but give yourself a break. There’s no need to feel horrible about your body or guilty for skipping the gym a couple times.

And guess what? Even Lima realized her pre-show regimen was extreme.

She told “E!” that she only does this diet before the show and she “goes back to normal again” afterward.

So why should we idolize these women for looking the way they do when sometimes such extreme measures are taken in the first place?

It isn’t realistic to think more than a handful of women will, or should, look like Victoria’s Secret angels. We have to remind ourselves that if we weren’t born to be 6 feet tall with a 24 inch waist, no amount of time in the gym will change our bodies.

Maybe if the fashion show got a little less attention, life would get a little easier for the girls comparing themselves to a Victoria’s Secret body.

Baihly Warfield can be reached at

3 Replies to “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show gives unrealistic body expectations”

  1. Great article, Baihly!  Eating disorders are scary illnesses that are very difficult to get over.  The best thing to do is make people aware of how dangerous they really are.

  2. Great article Baihly! I for one love the VS Fashion Show for the glitz and glamour, however it does set extremely unrealistic body ideals, not only do these women go to extreme lengths to look the way they do but they also have genes that make them look that way. Even if most of us ate and exercised the same way we wouldn’t look like a Victorias Secret model. Girls need to know that they are beautiful the way they are!

  3. Boom lady good job! You should check out Leah Darrow. She was on America’s Next Top model and had her conversion in the middle of a racy photo shoot. It’s super intense and she is gorgeous. This article made me think of her. God bless you lovely lady!

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