Why I Couldn't Watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

I knew I was in a good place when Halloween rolled around.  Eating candy didn't make me hate myself.  Finding out that there was going to be pizza served for the office didn't send me into a panic.  This time last year,  and the year before, I was not in a good place.  I was feeling out of control and utterly disgusted with my appearance and it was a daily battle just to exist in my own skin.  I felt trapped.  Hopeless.  I had gone from being the skinny one to hiding under skirts and tunics.  I was in no condition to watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion show.

I bought three VS bikinis this year and the majority of my bras and jammies come from there.  I love the brand and I always love the musical guests they choose like Akon, Selena Gomez, and Rhianna.  The Victoria's Secret fashion show is the holy grail of modeling jobs, the super bowl of runway, and viewed by millions.  It is a cohesive blend of performance, fashion, and whimsy, that I have always enjoyed watching except those two years I couldn't do it.

The show has evolved.  Remember when Victoria's Secret models represented the fuller, yet still very slim model figure?  They had boobs and hips. Some of them even had butts.  Some of them still do, but since 2013 high fashion editorial types have joined their ranks. The girls are getting thinner.  Also, the show isn't just about what happens on the stage.  They've taken us backstage, and added behind the scene segments and special clips  featuring the models.  We're so lucky! Once you are in the show, your life changes.  Between the interviews, sexy commercials, backstage access, and casting footage the Victoria's Secret fashion show is basically a one hour long celebration of beautiful genetically gifted women who are paid very well to look good, and travel the world. 

I didn't want to hear them talk about how they don't wake up looking that way.  We work really hard at it, and I don't doubt that they do, but to deny genetics as a major reason they get to do what they do is BS.  No amount of starving, or working out would have ever given me, or most women their barbie doll like proportions.  The average woman is now a size 16.  At my thinnest, when I was working really hard at resisting food, and working off half of what I did put into my mouth, I could still have never been a VS model.  I didn't have the height or the waist to hip ratio, and that was fine.  I took comfort in being skinny, and when that went away it was a serious blow to my confidence.  At least with the catalog you can kid yourself into believing that it's all photo shop and they don't really look like that, but when you see them live in HD the truth is revealed.  They really look like that.  How could I watch those perfect angels glide gleefully down the runway in all of their hard edged, flat ab, thin glory as the entire world watches in adoration?  I couldn't do it.  My precious bones were gone, and to watch the show would have stirred up all kinds of feelings of envy and grief that I couldn't handle.  It's hard to admit, but I simply didn't have the self-esteem to sit through the 2014 Victoria's Secret fashion show and not hate myself and/or dissolve into tears.  It's the same reason I had to unfollow certain Instagram accounts.  The show would have to wait until I felt I could handle it.

The 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion show sat in my DVR queue until football season 2015.  I was following a meal plan and lifting weights.  I was taking action.  I wouldn't be fat much longer, so I sat down and watched Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Hozier, and Taylor Swift, who could practically be a Victoria's Secret model herself.  I watched the models flirt with the audience as they strutted down the runway.  I was fine, yet four months later when the 2015 show was televised, I couldn't watch.  Things were worse than ever.  The weight continued to pile on, Bikini Body Guide, Whole30, and anything else I tried be damned.  I couldn't punish myself with two Victoria's Secret Shows in the same year, so the 2015 show sat in the DVR.  I told myself I'd watch it when I felt better about myself, and it finally happened.  A year later.

I didn't watch the December 2015 Victoria's Secret fashion show until November of 2016, just before I left for Germany.  It was time.  I was ready.  I was in a good place.  I did Bikini Body Guide, meal prepped and was very consistent with diet and exercise.  I worked super hard to fix my metabolism, lose weight, have a better relationship with food, and accept my changing body.  I was getting ready to go three weeks without exercise or my usual meal planning and I knew I was ready for that too.  It took me a year to watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show, twice, but when the 2016 show rolled around it only took me a few nights.      
We're in Paris!  This is where it all happens!  We are so fortunate!  Alessandra, Behati, Lily, Gigi, Kendall.  They flirted their way down the runway on impossibly long legs and tiny waists peppered with abs.  Sure, I sat there marveling at the way their legs barely jiggle when they stomp the runway in stilettos, and how insanely gorgeous they are, but I was unaffected.  The commercials in which every perfect VS Angel body part is featured in a cinematographic work of art did not phase me, and I didn't bat an eye at their yearly segment on what they do to prepare for the show.  Oh really, is that all I have to do?  I still can't figure out how Lady Gaga walks in those ridiculous shoes, but I love it that she stole the show with her confidence and commanding performance. Bruno Mars, is freaking adorable and I looked real hard to to figure out which VS model The Weekend had dated because I heard about a death glare on the radio.  I loved it.

I was able to sit and enjoy the Victoria's Secret Fashion show for what it is.  An gorgeous entertaining spectacle of smoke and mirrors that doesn't have anything to do with me as a person.  Nothing more, nothing less. 


Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

Well, the VS fashion show isn't really a thing over here (I'm not even sure if it's aired?) but I don't think I'd watch it even if I could. I hate any marketing that is designed to make you feel like you're back in high school, watching the cool girls and wishing you could be just like them. It's all a bit cliquey and weird, no? Anyway, the real point is that I'm glad you're in a better place with how you feel about yourself. That's a huge accomplishment :)

Law_Fal said...

I've never watched a VS show, or any runway show for that matter outside of like Top Model. I hated being skinny and did everything I could to gain weight and shake the skinny girl stigma. I was ashamed of my body because I didn't have the curves and thickness that most guys in the South so vocally desired. Then I had to come to a point where I was like you know you know what you're perfect! I gained the weight and now I'm trying to get back on skinny status. In hindsight I wish I had the confidence then that I do now. Trying to fit someone else's mold is painful and can get very unrealistic. I'm happy you have reached a point where you are happy and confident with your body! You look great and motivate me so often to get myself together. I'm proud of you for watching!