ThirdLove: Another Brand Trying to Gain Success by Bashing Victoria’s Secret
ThirdLove sent an open letter to Victoria’s Secret the other day, and it’s become a pretty controversial piece of news. The letter (shown below) was posted to the company’s Instagram with the text stating, “I was appalled when I saw the demeaning comments about women your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made to Vogue last week. As hard as it is to believe, he said the following:
‘We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.’ ‘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.’ I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier. How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company- let alone one that claims to be for women- make such shocking, derogatory statements? You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women.”
With that final comment, they seem to be missing a woman’s ability to love both herself and the female body. In fact, many women love the Victoria’s Secret show for their beautiful pieces and fantasy aesthetic. It is definitely not only marketed to men. In fact, many men are afraid to walk into Victoria’s Secret stores. The marketing at Victoria’s Secret is very feminine, aiming to bring women in because they see a beautiful bra and hope it looks just as beautiful on them. Not to mention, many studies have been done that show men prefer curvier women over extremely thin model types. It’s the women who generally pick the smaller sizes over the curvier sizes, claiming the smaller sizes look better.
ThirdLove continued with their statement, making it an advertisement for their brand, “But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a ’42-minute entertainment special.’ Your show may be a “fantasy’ but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country. Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles? It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy- let us decide. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend.”
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New York Times Sunday, full page letter from @heidi to @victoriassecret – Dear Victoria‚Äôs Secret, I was appalled when I saw the demeaning comments about women your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made to Vogue last week. As hard as it is to believe, he said the following: ‚ÄúWe attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don‚Äôt.‚Äù ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs like, why doesn‚Äôt your show do this? Shouldn‚Äôt you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don‚Äôt think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.‚Äù I‚Äôve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I‚Äôm even angrier. How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company ‚Äî let alone one that claims to be for women ‚Äî make such shocking, derogatory statements? You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women. But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a ‚Äú42-minute entertainment special.‚Äù Your show may be a ‚Äúfantasy‚Äù but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country. Haven‚Äôt we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles? It‚Äôs time to stop telling women what makes them sexy ‚Äî let us decide. We‚Äôre done with pretending certain sizes don‚Äôt exist or aren‚Äôt important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend. I founded ThirdLove five years ago because it was time to create a better option. ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria‚Äôs Secret. We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This shouldn‚Äôt be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm. Let‚Äôs listen to women. Let‚Äôs respect their intelligence. Let‚Äôs exceed their expectations. Let women define themselves. As you said Ed, ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre nobody‚Äôs ThirdLove, we‚Äôre their first love.‚Äù We are flattered for the mention, but let me be clear: we may not have been a woman‚Äôs first love but we will be her last. To all women everywhere, we see you, and we hear you. Your reality is enough. To each, her own. -Heidi @heidi
So, are they truly championing a good cause? Or are they trying to ride the coat tails of Victoria’s Secret’s success to gain free marketing for their own brand? After all, this is not the first time a smaller company has tried to ride on the coat tails of a successful brand by bashing them and, in turn, insulting the people who love them for what they are. You have to remember, some people want to see the fantasy of it all. Some women truly enjoy the idealized feminine bodies sporting glamorous looks and fashionable pieces while walking a dream runway. By bashing the brand, you are bashing its consumers and insulting those who want to live in the brand’s fantasy world and enjoy it. And, for the record, ThirdLove has gotten a lot of free exposure from this. Seeing that their price-point is higher than the general price-point at Victoria’s Secret, I’m sure they are making bank off of their letter, too. So, while ThirdLove may be championing a good cause in theory, they probably also have more weighted goals. After all, they could have sent the letter directly to Victoria’s Secret without publishing it in the New York Times and posting it to Instagram for everyone to see.
This whole issue poses a much larger question in the end. Isn’t one of the best freedoms in life being able to have a business and run it the way you want? What happened to the freedom of the American dream? With today’s society, it’s becoming a trend to change everything around us based on the beliefs of others, but Victoria’s Secret seems to be staying true to their brand and their aesthetic, and we have nothing but respect for them for it.
Perhaps, we can stop looking at the brand’s decision to carry the sizes it does as an insult and instead see it as their dream and vision. In fact, many places cater only to plus size women, and no one complains about the “inclusivity” to only cater to plus sizes. In conclusion, we should celebrate the freedoms given to us in our country. Victoria’s Secret should be able to market their brand any way they see fit, just as ThirdLove has utilized their freedom of speech to comment on it.
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