'Tis the season...to look pretty and sing, apparently. Over the past week we’ve seen both Victoria’s Secret and Top Shop come out with videos of genetically blessed women singing carols. Top Shop chose Kate Bosworth for their video and, although I’ve always been enamoured by her style and beauty, I wasn’t quite sold on the idea. I mean, can she even sing? However, when she stands on a piano singing "Winter Wonderland
" in her smoky little wisp of a voice, she’s absolutely charming. The whole production is gorgeous.
And the Victoria’s Secret video
, naturally, is adorable. It involves Candice Swanepoel, Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge, Lindsay Ellingson and Erin Heatherton decked out in red and white lingerie, decorating a house and signing “Deck the Halls”. The girls also poke fun at themselves by screwing up the words, being unable to carry a tune and dropping presents. Oh silly angels, candy canes wouldn’t melt in your mouth!
But while you can’t help but “aww” at the little models and their lanky clumsiness and bad voices, I couldn’t help but be a bit pissed off at the video and it’s continuation of the stereotype that women can’t be beautiful and intelligent - or furthermore, that women won't buy lingerie from women who are pretty AND clever.
I mean, it's very clear the Victoria's Secrets Angels are intelligent or at least have good business smarts. They're all hugely successful and are perched in the upper echelons of Forbes richest models list each year. I'm not saying all the girls are Rhodes Scholars, but they're clearly not idiots.
But the YouTube video chooses to make them look that way. I’m all for women poking fun at themselves, I think it’s great. In fact I really do think the video is fun and I enjoyed watching it. But it’s like they’ve purposefully dumbed the girls down in order to make them seem more ‘real’ or ‘relatable’ to all the 'lesser' women watching (and hopefully buying the lingerie).
And that comes back to the old advertising/societal assumption that all women hate each other - or at least hate anyone that's a threat to them. I mean, it seems pretty obvious this dumbing down is for our sake - I don't think guys would like the angels any less if they were taking part in a lingerie-clad chess game (ooh, that's a cute idea for the next Victoria's Secret video, I must pitch it. Somebody remind me once I'm done with this rant?). But when it comes to the Victoria's Secret target audience - women - it's clear that we're more easily threatened by these girls.
Honestly, they're skinny and they have big boobs, pretty faces and good hair. My gosh, if they could string a sentence together we’d have to hate them, right? Well no, I don’t necessarily agree with that stereotype. There certainly are women who do still think this way, but I really do think that mentality is shifting. At least I hope it is.
I remember hearing the day before I started at a company I used to work for that the woman who would be my direct manager Googled photos of me and told the others that I looked too pretty to be smart and she was going to make my life hell (obviously I found this out months later). This woman was pretty and intelligent herself, so I'm not too sure what the chip on her shoulder was. But she did indeed make my life hell and I fluctuated between feeling guilty for putting effort into my looks and feeling like an idiot. Gee, if that’s not a progressive woman then I don’t know what is.
Seriously, I think it’s time we could look at beautiful woman and be OK with her also having a brain and not take that as a huge threat. Some people really are
better than us (in some ways), and that's fine. There is enough good stuff in the world for everyone, tall intelligent models aren't going to take it all from us, ladies. I'm not saying I never feel jealous, everyone does, but I do feel happy and make sure I celebrate all of my friends' talents and achievements, even if they come in a package that's more attractive than mine.
I also wish companies would stop making all women either competent and homely looking or stunning and but ditzy. There’s nothing wrong with being ditzy, but it doesn't have to be a trait we automatically attribute to every bombshell.
Of course I don’t imagine that Victoria’s Secret will be the company to push these boundaries and making a video of their girls looking intellectual and drop dead gorgeous hanging out in their lingerie (would we love the shows so much if they did?) But it would be nice if we didn’t just expect models to act stupid all the time.
And you know what, maybe it’s just that I’m filled with Christmas cheer (and slowly fading wine from our madison
Christmas party last night) but I love that everyone is talented and intelligent in their own way and I want to celebrate that, rather than trying to take people down a peg. This festive season, let's be happy with what we have and be OK with smart women also being beautiful.
What do you guys think? Do you love the Victoria’s Secret video? Or do you think they’re playing up on the models being dumb? Fiona MacDonald is a features writer with madison who would love to see the VS angels decking the halls while making witty banter.