People are furious at Victoria's Secret for refusing to use plus size or transgender models

12 November 2018, 11:31

Ming Xi, Grace Elizabeth, Cindy Bruna, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Alexina Graham walk the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Ming Xi, Grace Elizabeth, Cindy Bruna, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Alexina Graham walk the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Picture: Getty
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

Victoria's Secret's Chief Marketing Officer has apologised for the "insensitive" comments he made.

The Victoria Secret's Fashion Show 2018 kicked off last week and again it posed the question about inclusivity in the fashion industry. They wheeled out the Hadids, Kendall Jenner and the usual bombshells but none of them were remotely plus-size.

In a bizarre and highly-criticised interview with Vogue magazine at the event, Ed Razek harshly said the lingerie company's shows were a "fantasy" and should not include transgender or plus size models.

Mr Razek – who is part of the casting team – and the brand's Executive Vice-President of Public Relations, Monica Mitro, were asked whether Victoria's Secret should be more diverse. "I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis," Mr Razek explained. "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 attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don't."

He added: "It's like, why doesn’t your show do this? 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." Yep, he actually said that. Obviously, his comments didn't go down well with trans and plus size activists alike. In fact, people even said they wouldn't be shopping with VS anymore.

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Who needs VS anyway?! They never supported plus ladies & now they are trying to dis my trans sisters? Hell nah. Kiss my fat ass. I said this to @teenvogue this week: “As much as I want VS, who’s the biggest lingerie retailer, to embrace plus size and more diverse body types, it's also important to give your time, focus, and money to brands who are actually doing what you want to see. It’s important to be vocal about the brands you do like and what they’re doing right because that’s who should get our money because they actually care about marginalized groups. Always support progressive brands.” . . I’m wearing @asos on my bum which will always get my money! ✌🏻#effyourbeautystandards #boycottvsfashionshow [image description: black and white photo of Tess’s bum wearing lacy underwear & the second photo is a screenshot of a news article of the CEO of VS pictured with models & the headline reads: “Victoria Secrets execs explain why they don’t use trans or plus size models”]

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It's extremely concerning to hear this comment about why @victoriassecret would not cast a trans model. It speaks volumes about how certain people within the industry still view trans women. To make a blanket statement that we are not desirable, because he does not see us as desirable, is his personal view and not rooted in fact. That we can not be viewed as aspirational, like a cis model, that we cannot "sell the fantasy", which we know is not case at all. This comment is rooted in transphobia and feeds into the narrative that trans women are not women. If you want to sell a fantasy, then sell a fantasy. Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be and if that intentionally doesn't include trans women, then that's your prejudice talking. The reality is that trans women are desired by many, to suggest otherwise is shortsighted and without doubt transphobic.

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Mr Razek soon back-pedalled on his initial statement and apologised on Twitter.

Victoria's Secret has been fighting falling sales since 2016 and perhaps their unwillingness to evolve out of their archaic perception of female bodies could be an issue. The fashion industry is gradually becoming more and more inclusive, so they might want to take a few notes from our gal Rihanna.

In September, Rih Rih had a plethora of diverse models walk the runway for her Savage x Fenty show, including heavily pregnant model Slick Woods, who gave birth shortly after the show.

Does the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show need an overhaul? Tweet us @popbuzz and let us know!