The lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret has edited the text on the advertisements for its “Body by Victoria” line, following backlash from thousands of critics who said the original tagline sent a problematic message to women.
The advertisement in question, pictured above, used to display the line “The Perfect Body” emblazoned across a group of very thin underwear models. Now, the ad displayed on the Victoria’s Secret site says “A Body For Every Body.” It’s not clear exactly when the text was edited, but sites like The Independent and Business Insider first started noticing the change on Thursday morning.
Over the past week, Victoria’s Secret became the subject of quite a bit of outrage over the “Perfect Body” ad campaign. People took to social media to complain about the fact that so many of the models in the advertisement have visible ribs showing, pointing out that’s an unhealthy message to send to young girls about what a “perfect body” should look like.
An online petition asking Victoria’s Secret to apologize and edit the advertisement quickly garnered nearly 27,000 signatures. “All this does is perpetuate low self-esteem among women who are made to feel that their bodies are inadequate and unattractive because they do not fit into a narrow standard of beauty,” the petition argued. “It contributes to a culture that encourages serious health problems such as negative body image and eating disorders.”
The organizers who started that campaign are celebrating the tagline change as “amazing news,” and hope that Victoria’s Secret edits all of the posters in its storefronts, too. They also want the company to commit to using a range of more diverse models in general (the tagline change, of course, does not change the fact that all of the women in the ad are the same size).
Victoria’s Secret has not yet responded to ThinkProgress’ request for comment about the update, or about the brand’s stance on body diversity.
Thanks in large part to social media, which now allows activists to better coordinate pushback to what they see as problematic ad campaigns, there’s recently been more conversation about the unrealistic portrayals of women’s bodies in pop culture. Another successful online petition drive forced Seventeen Magazine to announce it won’t alter the body sizes or face shapes of its models anymore. And models themselves are increasingly speaking out against the drastic Photoshopping of their bodies.
Proponents of tighter standards against unrealistic images of women in advertising point out that being exposed to that societal standard of beauty has serious consequences for teens’ self-image, confidence, and mental health. The pressure to conform to a societal ideal of thinness leads many girls to grow up believing they’re too fat. Eighty percent of U.S. girls say they’ve been on a diet, and eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are increasingly putting kids under the age of 12 in the hospital.
According to a recent survey, brands like Victoria’s Secret — a company that has become infamous for presenting an idealized image of women’s sexuality — aren’t necessarily giving customers want they want. Two thirds of women agree they’re more likely to buy from a company that uses a diverse range of models and limits the use of Photoshop.