Earlier this week Julia Roberts was selected as People Magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman”. With the release of Victoria Secret’s #WhatisSexy campaign the trend seems to continue with an archetype of “sexy” and “beauty” re-affirmed by its female selections.
But is that really an issue?
Let’s take a step back and consider the Julia Roberts selection. For starters People is looking to sale magazines to a largely older crowd. In order to do this it makes logical sense to select someone that their readership is familiar with. Nothing says “You’re beautiful” then choosing a 40+ Julia Roberts, playing to an established base of 40+ readers.
And it makes sense. Remember People is in the business of making money, and panning to readership, not necessarily selecting the actual most beautiful person in the world. Is Julia Roberts beautiful? A subjective question, but I do believe she is. Is Roberts the WORLD’S Most Beautiful Person? Well…People said so…and that’s all that matters I guess.
Now as for the Victoria’s Secret #WhatisSexy campaign, that’s very different. Victoria’s Secret is more of a trendy brand that seeks to connect with a younger audience. It played to this by allowing fans to vote on the sexiest social media personalities (nominated by Victoria’s Secret mind you) which, in my opinion, was a terrible idea from the start. The nominations were pretty much, which slightly exotic looking female do you think is sexier? While some winners make sense from a sales and marketing stand point (i.e. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Vanessa Hudgens), others were head scratches that I’m honestly confused as to how they didn’t know they’d get backlash from it. This reminds me of the Pepsi Commercial where people just didn’t really think things through all the way.
The thing about the #WhatisSexy campaign is that it will always be an uphill battle. How can it not be? No two people have the same definition of what “sexy” is so the fact that Victoria’s Secret is trying to corner the market on it is like watching a man in a wheelchair trying to catch a rabbit in tall grass. Still I can’t blame them for trying I guess.
It’s a hard transition for Victoria’s Secret who historically has not had to expand its sexiness radar outside of its current selections. With the recent diversity push however things will have to change, which means longer hours researching and possibly changing their ideas of the term sexy. But even with these changes, they still can’t win. No one really can in these situations.
But even still, it’s worth a shot to change.
Where ever they go for next year, if there is a next year, they can’t possibly do a worse job than this right?