‘How can you be a feminist and enjoy the Victoria’s Secret show?’ It’s easy. Like this

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‘How can you be a feminist and enjoy the Victoria’s Secret show?’ It’s easy. Like this

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s all over social media, the press is getting ready.  People all over the world are waiting.  That’s right, it’s almost time for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

My plans for December 5th are currently looking a little something like this: eating too much and enjoying the best runway show of the year. And I shouldn’t feel bad for that.

I’ll admit it, the VS Show has been known to leave a slightly bad taste in some people’s mouths.  For some it’s the lingerie, for some it’s the models and for others it’s literally the entire premise. But here’s the thing, I will watch the show this year, like I do every year, and I will probably love it. For me, it’s about women getting up and reclaiming their bodies.

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I’ve grown up at a time when and in a place where slut-shaming has become an unfortunate and often inevitable aspect of life as a young woman. My body was not something to flaunt or be proud of and I spent years wearing shorts over my bikini bottoms for fear of being deemed indecent. Short skirts, crop tops and the like “gave the wrong impression”. My peers and I were even made to feel ashamed if our bra strap slipped out from our sleeve.

Watching the VS show is almost therapeutic in the sense that it is a completely unapologetic celebration of what so many others see as inappropriate and un-ladylike. God forbid a woman shows her thigh or her stomach on an international stage, after all. In all honesty, I admire the women who have the confidence to that; they know there will be people scrutinising every inch of their body, and they don’t let it faze them. The first VS Show took place in 1995 but it wasn’t aired on TV until 2001, when the network- ABC– actually blurred out some parts because of their indecent nature (read: legs and stomachs).  We’ve come a long way since then.

Every year it’s the same: I sit there, eating my bodyweight in chocolate, knowing that I will never look like the models; my genes simply do not include legs up to everyone else’s shoulders or that voluminous-but-always-under-control hair. Is it realistic? No. Then again, neither is the concept of me being a gymnast, or a singer, or an actress, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the Olympics, the X Factor or the Oscars. I see their washboard abs and, knowing how many hours of “legs, bums and tums” classes I’d need to undertake to achieve such physicality, I think “rather them than me”.

I bought my first ever gym membership about six weeks ago and I wish I could say ‘I’ve never looked back’ but really it’s just consolidated the fact that I will never have the self-discipline to actually exert my body like that. And that’s perfectly OK with me. It certainly doesn’t make me any less of a person than them, and I’m always up for supporting the hard work of my fellow females- be it in the gym or the boardroom.

There’s just something about the costumes, too. They are works of art at the very least, with some practically being architectural masterpieces (those wings, though).  If Vogue, Cirque du Soleil and Notting Hill Carnival had a lovechild, it would be the VS Show. Combine that with the predictable chart-topping artists they have accompanying the models down the runway- hello Justin Bieber and Rihanna- and it becomes exactly the kind of entertainment that collapsing on the sofa with a variety of refined sugar in an attempt to temporarily avoid whatever assignment is looming over me at that point calls for.

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Some may say it’s an excessive and unnecessary publicity stunt or a glorified infomercial but I literally do not care; if I feel like injecting a bit of colour and flamboyance into my comparatively drab student flat for one night a year then I’m going to, and I’m definitely not going to feel bad about it. So sue me.

Featured image via Victoria’s Secret Instagram.

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