Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret. Trans­pho­bia. Fan­tasy.

Gay Times Magazine - - ESSAYS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Aaron Jay Young Words Rain Valdez

I grew up wanting to be­come an ac­tress and model, and there were al­ways the two types of an­gels I wanted to grow up to be­come; a Char­lie’s An­gel and a Vic­to­ria Se­cret An­gel.

One was more about strength, kick­ing-ass and sis­ter­hood, while look­ing good. The other about sex ap­peal, beauty and de­sir­abil­ity, while al­most naked. Both were dreams to aspire to and some­thing that I oc­ca­sion­ally fan­ta­sise that I was. Like your av­er­age con­sumer, I was a fre­quent shop­per at Vic­to­ria Se­cret. I bought all the un­der­wear that they sold for 5 for $20. Over the years it would go up to 5 for $30. But still I bought it, I had the cov­eted VS An­gel Card. I also bought their per­fumes, sexy lin­gerie and some of the men I dated also felt com­pelled to dress me in their fan­tasy and would buy things for me from Vic­to­ria Se­cret.

It’s no se­cret that Vic­to­ria Se­cret has been trans­pho­bic and dis­crim­i­na­tory to­wards plus size women and trans­gen­der mod­els be­cause that’s ac­tu­ally been ev­i­dent through­out decades of their ex­is­tence. Proven time and time again through their ad­ver­tis­ing from the lack of the di­ver­sity and sizes on the pages of their cat­a­log, and their pre­dom­i­nantly white, skinny, Euro­pean mod­els in the com­mer­cials and run­way shows – so it’s not like we’re sur­prised. But for a 70 year old man to come right out and say that tran­sex­u­als and plus size women will never be cast on the an­nual iconic Vic­to­ria Se­cret run­way show be­cause what they sell is a fan­tasy, su­es­t­ing that we can’t sell fan­tasy — pretty much de­stroys “the fan­tasy” for mil­lions of women around the world. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Ed Razek! You’ve just de­stroyed ev­ery young girl’s fan­tasy for them­selves.

What was the point of that re­ally? Be­sides con­firm­ing our sus­pi­cions and putting your brand on the list of ar­chaic, un-evolved and out of touch busi­nesses to avoid. What is the mat­ter with a young trans girl or a young plus size dar­ling dream­ing and fan­ta­sis­ing about their bod­ies be­ing de­sired or loved? In fact, you could have ben­e­fit­ted from it. But too late, we’ll see to it that that doesn’t hap­pen. Su­es­t­ing that trans women are less to be de­sired per­pet­u­ates the idea that trans women don’t get to be loved. And con­tin­ues to shape a cul­ture that vil­i­fies, os­tracised and mur­ders trans women. So I must speak out on this is­sue be­cause my artis­tic mes­sage as an ac­tor and film­maker has al­ways been to shift this nar­ra­tive and prove to the world that not only do we de­serve to be loved but that we ac­tu­ally do have love in our lives. And it’s time for brands and me­dia to catch up.

Thank­fully, there are bet­ter and woke AF brands like Chro­mat and Marco Marco that cel­e­brates and show­cases all body types and gen­ders on their run­way. Thank­fully, there are gor­geous, hard­work­ing de­sir­able trans mod­els and plus size mod­els to aspire to be. And be­lieve me, they know how to sell fan­tasy.

If you are a young as­pir­ing model or just want to see proof that you can lit­er­ally be any­thing you ever dreamed of. Have a look at the ca­reers of Geena Ro­cero, Lea T, Leyna Bloom, Trace Ly­sette, Car­men Car­rera, Isis King, Tracy Africa, Mun­roe Bergdorf, An­drej Pe­jic, Gisele Alicea,

Gigi Gor­geous, Valentina Sam­paio, Lav­erne Cox, Can­dis Cayne and Rain Dove. Trust that there are many many more that I can’t think of right now or aren’t even pub­licly out yet. And the truth is – we don’t need Vic­to­ria Se­cret’s in­clu­sion to val­i­date our de­sir­abil­ity. But we do need to hold them ac­count­able for their pub­lic dis­crim­i­na­tion, prej­u­dice and misog­yny that leads to vi­o­lence and deaths to­wards trans women and non-bi­nary folks.

We are a tar­geted com­mu­nity and al­ready have so much to fight. And in all hon­esty, trans women and plus size women are more than a fan­tasy. We are the vi­sion of the fu­ture and some of the fun­ni­est and sex­i­est women I know. So I call upon the brands that stand with us and cel­e­brates all body types, gen­ders and eth­nic back­grounds to use their power and plat­form to give us the fan­tasy that we de­serve.

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