Republished February 2024
(A Toastmasters Project)
Originally published in Forte 2018-2019
Did you catch the story yesterday about seven women who donned nude underwear and protested on the streets of London, England outside the busy Victoria’s Secret shop in Oxford Circus? This was a follow-up to the company’s “historically narrow-minded” runway show of the year. The article was published by Huffpost.
The initiative was launched by Joanne Morales, founder of an all-inclusive UK lingerie brand called Nunude, and Sylvia Mac, childhood burn victim and advocate for people with scars and skin conditions in mainstream media and pop culture. The pair “called on their communities of followers and customers to participate in what they agreed was not an angry protest but rather a way to celebrate diversity. Their shared mission was to provide an example of what it’s like to be size inclusive but to also be inclusive of race, ability and both visible and invisible illness.”
“We were fed up seeing these so-called perfect body images online,
with there being just one perceived beautiful body type,” Mac told HuffPost.
Noble goals to be sure. I’m as much for inclusivity as the next guy, but let’s be honest here. I didn’t need to see this nor did these women need to stand on the street all-but-naked to make their point.
I wrote a blog yesterday saying that humans are programmed to appreciate art and therefore we can’t help but appreciate beauty in a purely aesthetic sense. In this politically correct, everyone-is-beautiful climate, we are perhaps sacrificing a wee bit of honesty with ourselves and others.
I totally get the beautiful body type thing and I do understand that unattainable images of perfection cause problems. On the other hand, let’s not pretend that we are comparing apples and apples here. There are people out there who are simply beautiful in a traditional aesthetic sense. They are not flabby or scarred or overweight or old. They are works of art and, in my view, there is no crime in acknowledging and appreciating that.
Back to the protestors.
They would have had more dignity if they’d kept their clothes on.
This was not the only protest in the wake of the annual Victoria’s Secret Angels extravaganza. There was another in New York in November, arranged by supermodel Robin Langley and backed by a team of known models representing inclusivity and positivity. All shapes and sizes were represented, from voluptuous to statuesque, clad in gorgeous clothing designed to highlight their individual assets. The protest made a statement with class and impact. Every one of those women was stunning. Point made.
There can be too much truth in advertising.
Aside from my personal belief that the protest in Oxford Circle was ill-advised,
hats off to the seven women who strutted their stuff with passion and grit.