Why the New Era of Victoria’s Secret Is Just As Problematic as the Previous

So long sex and kitsch, hello materialistic empowerment

Suvi Helena
Fearless She Wrote


The yellow rubber gloves were a wonderful touch. Because isn’t this what you wear to wash the dishes on a Tuesday night? Photo: Jamie McCarthy/2013 Getty Images

I’m sure you’ve heard by now: Victoria’s Secret is rebranding itself as an inclusive, empowered, feminist brand!

At the forefront of this turnaround are Megan Rapinoe, Eileen Gu, Paloma Elsesser, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. They will be the faces of the new era of Victoria’s Secret that is redefining what sexy means on their own terms.

I suppose the rebranding attempt was to be expected; VS has been in trouble in terms of sales for a while. The once legendary lingerie giant with 350 stores nationally, sales topping $1 billion, 15 million dollar fantasy bras, and top-model Angels was slow to adjust to the changing times. Between 2016 and 2018, its market share in the US dropped from 33% to 24%.

The brand has been criticized for selling lingerie for the male gaze rather than for the female body. It has been scrutinized for its misogynistic viewpoint of women. It failed to keep up with the times and remained in the padded, push-up period when the rest of the world has already moved on. The ties with Jeffrey Epstein didn’t help.

I used to be obsessed with Victoria’s Secret. I remember the first time I walked into their store. I…