Monday, November 12, 2018

What's Victoria's Secret? - It's Transphobic

One of the things that I did early into my transition was head to the Victoria's Secret store near my old southwest side apartment and buy a couple of pairs of Victoria's Secret bras and panties that I liked.

The 2018 edition of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show just happened in New York City after bouncing to Shanghai and Paris for the last two years. 

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The show has propelled some of its participants like Brazil's Adriana Lima into modeling superstardom, and I know that one of the goals of some of my trans sisters who are ripping runways like Isis King and Carmen Carrera is to one day walk that Victoria Secret Fashion show that is broadcast to the US and 44 nations around the world.

Several years ago there was an online petition campaign seeking to have Carrera become the first trans Angel that garnered over 40,000 signatures.   That petition was ignored.

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Now we know why.   Victoria's Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek revealed in a recent interview that transphobia and prejudice against plus size models roams its hallways in response to a question from American Vogue magazine's Nicole Phelps about whether trans models would have the opportunity to become Victoria's Secret Angels.

"No. No, I don’t think we should,” Razek told Phelps.

“Well, why not?",asked Phelps in a follow up question.

"Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors.”

Umm hmm.  When the worldwide backlash from those transphobic and plus size phobic interview comments hit, Rezek tried to quickly backpedal from what he said.

Came across as insensitive?   Dude, it was straight up insensitive and transphobic to boot.   Carmen Carrera and other trans models have reported they have never received a casting call invitation from VS for the show. 

I also have a major problem with the fact you barely have models of color in your shows, and it's why I don't care to watch the VS fashion Show broadcast.

Other trans women have (and still are) expressing themselves about Rezek's comments like my British trans sister Munroe Bergdorf.

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"To me, his apology sounds like back-pedaling and brand damage limitation. The damage has already been done and he has exposed himself and the brand for how they view women who do not fit a very exclusive and narrow minded criteria when it comes to gender and body shape."

To her, Razek’s original comments “speak volumes about how certain people within the industry still view trans women.” “This comment is rooted in transphobia and feeds into the narrative that trans women are not women,” Bergdorf states. “If you want to sell a fantasy, then sell a fantasy. Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be and if that intentionally doesn't include trans women, then that's your prejudice talking. The reality is that trans women are desired by many, to suggest otherwise is shortsighted and without doubt transphobic.”

Carmen Carrera said this in response to a Teen Vogue interview question about why Victoria's Secret has been slow to embrace diversity.

"I think that Victoria’s Secret is afraid, and they’re unwilling to take a risk. I think we are seen as a liability rather than the amazing opportunity we truly are. I think by them not including us, it's sending a dark message and contributing to the ignorance and hate that exists today. They as a company have the power to give us the opportunities that we need to thrive, and to actually set the record straight on who we are to the world at large. They need to stop looking at us as a liability, and instead look at us as potential for positive change in the world," she stated.

"Because that’s who we’ve always been. It almost feels like they’re waiting for us to become famous enough on our own until they have no choice but to include us, but the reality is that’s almost impossible without help and support from companies like them in the first place. It’s hard for us to thrive without the resources. We’re so disenfranchised: We barely have equal rights and federal protection. They have the power and potential to help change that,." Carrera continued.

I was considering buying some Victoria's Secret undies for myself and some trans friends of mine for Christmas, but I think I'll pass until a trans feminine person (or multiple trans feminine people) rip that VS runway.   

TransGriot Note: Thanks to Elizabeth Rivera for the VS boycott graphic

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