Richson: Celebrate - don’t hate - the Angels


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Like many college girls and boys — whether they’ll admit it or not — I tuned in to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Tuesday night.

As expected, the show brought with it streams of self-deprecating tweets and Facebook statuses. I also wouldn’t be surprised if fights broke out in lines to use treadmills on Wednesday. The whole thing is ridiculous, really, but like a shiny, bedazzled train wreck, we just can’t look away.

I will not sit on my high horse and try to say that I wouldn’t love to look like the Victoria’s Secret Angels — that would be about as true and sincere as me telling my parents I’m too old for them to give me Christmas presents.

However, if there’s anything that I’ve deduced from my years of tuning into the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, it’s that women hating other women doesn’t do us much good.

Yes, the evil Angels set a nearly unattainable standard of beauty and broadcast it to the world as effortless and casual. Staunch opponents of the skimpiness of the … apparel (?) … they flaunt will say to dress in such a manner is to play into male ideas of attractiveness and sex standards. Maybe these people truly believe this, and obviously everyone is entitled to her or his opinions.

Regardless, women watching at home who harbor this kind of disdain for the sexual expression and confidence of their own gender subvert any respect that stands to be gained on either side of the issue.

Speaking as someone who has always dressed with a large degree of individuality, I can personally say that I don’t dress for anyone but myself. If I want to wear a short skirt or a crop top in 5-degree weather, it’s because I feel like it, seasonal appropriateness aside.

And if the Victoria’s Secret Angels want to prance around in lingerie because they can, then why not?

Who are we to protest?

We also cannot forget that Victoria’s Secret is working not so discreetly to promote its brand … buy this bra, and you can look like an Angel, too. We are inclined to see something beautiful and think, even for a split second, that we could be its equivalent.

Maybe the Victoria’s Secret show is a product of the fitness-crazed, body-image-obsessed society we live in, and maybe, yeah, that does suck. Unfortunately, there will always be standards that are out of reach for the average person, but it’s up to the individual how they take these standards and apply them.

You can be bitter and jealous, or you can laugh and eat some ice cream and be happy that society is to a place where such female confidence is celebrated and revered. It wasn’t always like this.

If Victoria’s Secret does deliberately sexualize these women, it is clearly by their own free will. “Why would these women belittle themselves to nothing more than a body?” some might argue. For one, it is what they are paid to do. And second, who cares?

I’m sure there are many people who dress for reasons other than their own inclinations.

But I just don’t think that’s what the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is about. It’s about celebrating who you are. For example, I will never be a Victoria’s Secret Angel, as I am barely 5-feet tall, and I’m OK with that … and you should be, too.

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