I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been a long-time fan of Victoria’s Secret. At one point, I knew all the models’ names and even their weight.
Then, after realizing bras really aren’t great for our health, I went totally bra-free nearly two years ago and have never looked back. Since then, I’ve sold my Victoria’s Secret bras to try and gain back what I lost giving my meager earnings to this billion-dollar company.
But all this doesn’t quite define the issue I have with Victoria’s Secret. I’ve realized that this company is hurting women more than they’re helping them.
Here’s why more and more women are considering what’s wrong with Victoria’s Secret and why I myself have questioned my purchases there and eventually stopped shopping there altogether.
1. Teaches Women That Perfection Is the Norm
My problem with Victoria’s Secret is that they allow girls to feel like being this thin is not only desirable but is also somehow the norm.
It’s not. The majority of women do not look like this. Yes, some women do have naturally thin body types that can be enhanced through diet, exercise, and PhotoShop.
But making girls feel like this is what’s expected of them is unrealistic. The average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds, while the average Victoria’s Secret model weighs about 120 pounds.
That’s over 45 pounds of weight difference.
I’m not saying the 166-pound average American woman is healthy. I’m not saying Victoria’s Secret 120-pound models are unhealthy. What I am saying is that there’s a huge gap here and that Victoria’s Secret does not represent the majority of women.
2. Helps Women Feel Confident Only When Covered
Why was I so obsessed with Victoria’s Secret for all those years?
Victoria’s Secret, to me, represented a world where women could feel sexy and not ashamed of their bodies.
Although I loved buying lingerie, I only did so because I couldn’t stand the sight of my actual body.
I was taught to hide and be embarrassed about my large breasts from an early age. Victoria’s Secret provided me with a way to deal with these feelings and feel better about myself.
However, I was only confident when I was covered. You almost never see Victoria’s Secret models naked. It teaches women that they need sexy lingerie to be desirable or attractive.
Their message is: when you have this product you’re hot. When you don’t have it, you’re not. Victoria’s Secret made me feel great for years until I realized that without the lingerie, I just felt like crap about myself and that wasn’t ok.
3. Bras Just Aren’t Really That Healthy
So why did I turn away from bras when I felt like I essentially needed them to feel good?
I read a fantastic article on Elephant Journal about why bras aren’t healthy for us and it changed my life.
Since reading about research that points to an increased risk for breast cancer due to heat and lymph node drainage, increased back and shoulder pain, and even toxic synthetic fabrics, I couldn’t wear a bra anymore.
So I stopped.
Bras just aren’t healthy for us. Underwire bras put pressure on our lymph nodes, which prevents our lymphatic system from draining properly. For us girls who have large breasts and require more material and padding, the accumulated heat from wearing a bra can increase our risk for breast cancer.
Combine all this with the fact that bras can actually cause sagging, reduce your nipple height, and increase back pain, and bras aren’t looking that sexy anymore.
4. There’s No Such Thing as a Real Woman
Victoria’s Secret’s notorious PhotoShop fails and digital enhancement of their models creates a world of advertising where there are no real women. Of course, Victoria’s Secret isn’t the only company guilty of this.
While I don’t doubt their models look fantastic in real life, I also don’t doubt that those photos have been altered to make the women look completely unrealistic.
This is exactly what happens with magazines. Everyone knows this—those women may be real people, but their photos have been altered in such a way that they don’t portray real women anymore.
Real beauty is strength. Strength is sexy. Being in shape is sexy. I don’t wish to skinny shame anyone; I only want to point out that real women don’t exist in advertising. That’s slowly changing, though!
5. They Use Synthetic Fabrics and Unethical Labor
Any fabric that’s synthetic or even partially synthetic is typically treated with formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is a possible human carcinogen.
In fact, some women have even experienced allergic reactions to the bras as a result of this. Most of Victoria’s Secret’s bras are made out of synthetic materials.
Even their cotton bras are blended with some type of synthetic fabric such as spandex.
These fabrics are essentially made from plastics, which are made from oils, which are flammable.
This means they require flame retardants in order for them to be safe for you to wear.
All this and not to mention their unethical labor standards, which show that Victoria’s Secret is getting labor and materials for extremely cheap and then selling the bras for ridiculously high prices.
So not only are their bras not healthy or eco-friendly, they are also supporting child labor in various countries.
Your Alternatives to Victoria’s Secret
Don’t worry, avoiding this company and breaking your habit is easier than you think.
I dare you to not wear a bra for a day. You’ll be amazed at how different you feel. You can also get an organic cotton bralette or scarves to cover yourself when you’re feeling modest.
As for me, I still wear sports bras when I go running, but I’m completely bra-free outside of that. I’ve been loving every second of embracing my body without the toxic Victoria’s Secret brand.
Consider how your purchases make an impact. Be conscious of your choices. Support organic cotton, handmade clothing, and natural fabrics. Stop buying stuff that’s not only impacting your health but the health of the planet.
You are so sexy all on your own.