Victoria's Secret sparks debate online after announcing the end of the Angel era

·4 min read

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Models Adrianna Lima (2nd L) and Candice Swanepoel (2nd R) dance during the finale of the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York, November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT FASHION)
Victoria's Secret is rebranding without their infamous angels. (Getty Images)

Victoria's Secret is officially Angel-free. 

On Wednesday, the renowned lingerie brand revealed that it would be doing away with their VS Angels in favour of a new group of inspirational women, including athletes, entrepreneurs and humanitarians.

Some of the new spokespeople include actress Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, activist and model, Valentina Sampaio, and professional soccer player and gender-equality activist, Megan Rapinoe.

Speaking to The New York Times, Victoria's Secret CEO Martin Waters opened up about the decision to ditch the Angels.

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 “I’ve known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven’t had the control of the company to be able to do it,” he said, adding that he thinks the time for Angels has passed. “Right now, I don’t see it as being culturally relevant."

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While many agree with Waters that Angels are no longer relevant in the current cultural climate, others have argued that the replacements "aren't what women want" either.

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"What PR agency suggested this garbage? Women want to look like the Angels. No one wants to look like Megan Rapinoe," tweeted Jessica O'Donnell, a social media editor for a republican news outlet. “'Rapinoe looks amazing! I want to look like her!' No one is saying she’s not in great shape. But she’s an athlete who doesn’t have curves. The vast majority of VS’s target base is curvy women. The argument that you’re better represented by a world cup athlete is laughably false."

"No one buying Victoria’s Secret lingerie wants to look like her," someone else echoed.

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"So women empowerment is the total disregard for femininity? Rebranding women as damaged, masculine women, angry at the world, and blaming men for all their personal problems? Good luck with that," another added.

"They could have kept the Angels," someone else wrote. "Just let them f—king eat and be normal-sized human beings. Angels are supposed to be powerful beings, right? Show me VS Angels who play sports, use mobility aids, and aren't a size 00."

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Some people were unhappy with Victoria's Secret for rebranding instead of expanding the idea of what's "sexy" to include different gender identities and plus size models. 

Victoria's Secret is doing away with their infamous VS Angels. (Image via Getty Images)
Victoria's Secret is doing away with their infamous VS Angels. (Image via Getty Images)

"All this says is that VS doesn't think that plus sized and trans women can be marketed as hot bombshells," one person wrote. "You mean to tell me the only way you can market your brand as inclusive is by stripping it of the fun and unique elements it was built upon?"

Others praised the outlet for making a move towards inclusion and away from using marketing tactics based on the male gaze. 

"More lesbian and POC representation? Less male gaze focus and maybe better bras? F—k yeah," one person tweeted, while another added, "It's about time Victoria's Secret joined the 21st century."

Victoria's Secret has been facing backlash for years over the lack of diversity and representation in their roster of models.

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In 2018, the chief of marketing, Ed Razek, found himself in hot water after telling Vogue that the reason they haven't welcomed a transgender model on their team is that they don't embody the "fantasy" they're trying to portray.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy,” he said. "If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant."

According To Razek there was "no interest" in having a plus size fashion show similar to Victoria's Secret. 

"Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we," he continued."We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”

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