The Detrimental Impact of Advertising on Women

Almost all teenage girls know the struggle and pain that comes with buying a new piece of clothing, but then becoming devastated when that new and exciting piece doesn’t fit you exactly the way you wanted it to. Imagine how much more painful it would be if you couldn’t even find one new or exciting piece because you don’t fit a store’s “ideal audience.” 

We live in a society that claims to preach acceptance. Yet, there is so much exclusivity rooted in it. Brandy Melville, a popular store amongst teens, is known for their disheartening sizing system. Brandy Melville does not size their clothes like other stores. While most stores’ sizing ranges from XXS to XXL, all of Brandy Melville’s clothing comes in one size. 

They use the mantra, “one size fits all.” The one size they use is petite and designed to only fit slimmer body types. So, in reality, it doesn’t fit most, but they advertise it as if it would. 

Eating disorders are a prevalent issue in today’s society. According to around 91 percent of women say they unhappy with their bodies.  28.8 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime and 10,200 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder, according to Telling certain people they can buy from a store, while turning away other people, only furthers the struggles women face with their self image. 

Four randomly-selected VHS seniors asked to comment on whether they have ever struggled with the way they looked or felt that they needed to look a certain way had interesting responses. They wished to remain anonymous, since it is such a touchy topic. 

The first girl said, “Hasn’t everyone?” The second girl said, “Almost every day, I face these insecurities.” The third girl said, “I constantly look at pictures of other girls and point out my flaws.” The response from the fourth girl was the one that really stood out. “I feel like that’s the standard now for girls in modern day society.” The sad but true reality of today. 

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is a well-known and televised event that has received a lot of criticism for its impact on females’ body image.  It hosted its fashion show for nearly 23 years before it was discontinued. A lot of the backlash they received was due to the models they chose to strut the runway.  The company only used skinny, tall models, reinforcing the idea that the only girls that deserve to walk the runway are the ones with a slim figure. 

It took Victoria Secret 42 years to hire its first plus-size model and even then, they kept the number of plus size models limited to one. It turned out that the plus-size model they hired, Ali Tate Cutler, was fatphobic (confusing, right?) She made a comment on Facebook saying, “Being obese is simply bad for the environment, and in this day and age, we cannot afford that lack of empathy anymore,” according to All in all, Victoria Secret lacks exactly what society needs right now: body positivity. 

Until companies learn to advertise and accept customers in a way that empowers women, the numbers of girls that struggle with eating disorders and their self esteem will continue to skyrocket. It’s 2021. Let’s lift people up instead of bringing them down.