Straight men complained after the lingerie brand said it would aim its marketing strategy at women.
After decades of being associated with scantily clad models and angel wings, Lingerie company Victoria's Secret is making a sharp pivot to become more inclusive. The brand has now made seven accomplished personalities the face of their brand, in a move away from their past of only using slender models dressed in lingerie in their marketing campaigns. Soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe, actor Priyanka Chopra, and transgender model Valentina Sampaio are among the names announced by the brand as part of its new VS Collective, a platform the company says "will build new, deeper relationships with all women," reported NBC News.
One demographic that was deeply hurt by the change was cis-gendered straight men. Yes, you heard that right. Straight men who weren't even the target audience of the brand were offended that the brand chose to listen and cater to people who were the brand's consumers. The entitlement of the cis-gendered straight men is on brand though. Many men took to Twitter, accusing the brand of giving in to the mob. A mob that wants to buy underwear from a brand represented by people they can relate to?
Some of the dumbest people run the most powerful companies on earth and it’s hilarious watching them destroy themselves.— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) June 16, 2021
Megan Rapinoe?? Nobody likes feminists. Nobody. Even other feminists hate feminists. They’re the least appealing people on the planet. https://t.co/4C2i7z2mMx
The brand made a conscious decision to move away from its image that catered to men. The shift started after the company canceled its Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2019 following backlash that it didn't include models of all sizes and backgrounds. “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Martin Waters, the chief executive of the brand, reported The New York Times. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
Rapinoe, an LGBTQIA+ activist, didn't mince her words about the company's past branding, describing it as "patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired," reported BBC News. Rapinoe said she was happy to see the change in the brand's direction and to be part of the new collective. "I am humbled to join this group of incredible women to drive change within the Victoria’s Secret brand and beyond," said Rapinoe in a statement. "So often I felt myself on the outside looking in with brands in the beauty and fashion industry, and I'm thrilled to be creating a space that sees the true spectrum of ALL women." Some of the other women part of the campaign include model and body advocate Paloma Elsesser, 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier Eileen Gu, media personality Amanda de Cadenet and South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech.
Seeing how people are reacting to Megan Rapinoe being named a brand ambassador for Victoria's Secret just proves the point of why we need more people like Megan Rapinoe representing companies like Victoria's Secret. pic.twitter.com/xFVE8sdTqY— 🦋Only Kate🦋 (@DJ_ILLIN_PAIN) June 16, 2021
The company acknowledged that it had done extensive research on what women want, and decided to act on it. "They told us very clearly we needed to have more representation in our brand," said Martha Pease, the company’s chief marketing officer, who led the initiative for the VS Collective. "They wanted to see different types of women who look more like them and the direction that was really clear from what they were saying is to bring a different type of woman." The change was also dictated by an 11% share drop in the market since 2015.
We’re finally declared a victory against bowing down to the male gaze - and its working! Look at y’all crying and whining, it’s beautiful 😭— metalliCUNT (@lucif_her) June 17, 2021
Transgender model Valentina Sampaio said she was excited about using the global platform to implement positive change throughout the world. "Being a trans woman often means facing closed doors to people’s hearts. As a powerful global platform, Victoria’s Secret is committed to opening these doors for trans women like me, by celebrating, uplifting, and advocating for ALL women," she said in a statement. Cis-gendered straight men took to Twitter to register their objection to the brand's new marketing strategies. Twitter users trolled them for their patriarchal views and called them out for trying to shame the brand into being non-inclusive. Here are some of the amazing come tweets that we came across:
Watching a bunch of straight white dudes lose their shit over Megan Rapinoe becoming a Victoria's Secret brand ambassador. pic.twitter.com/xHY2Hi8txb— Nicolette NuVogue (@NikkiNuVogue) June 16, 2021
Somehow I don't think you're their target audience, chief.— Shawn Farrell (@spfarrelltweets) June 16, 2021
So, this whole screed is a dude whinging that a women's underwear company is no longer using a marketing strategy that appeals primarily to men? Did I understand that right?— Tony C 🇺🇸 (@TonyTeacher88) June 16, 2021
But but but FrEe MaRkEt CaPiTaLiSM!— TN Bull Gator (@Mikelamp1969) June 17, 2021
You should smile more, Jesse. Be more pleasing and agreeable.— Marquise de Merteuil 🐝 🌺 (@abigailm1971) June 17, 2021
ah yes, a man speaking on behalf of all women— laura (@laurandriel) June 16, 2021
Yes, how dare they market their underwear to woman, and not your masterbatory preferences... pic.twitter.com/pqWGMJXFka— Roxie, Adult Human Female 🤘🏳️⚧️ (@Mooncalf_Roxie) June 17, 2021
I see nothing wrong with a brand who is overhauling to represent strong, intelligent women of ALL body types. The 90 lb anorexic chain smoking "angels" represent nothing but men's fantasies. That's not how most women look. I'd much rather see a brand utilize admirable people.— Hope4Rcountry (@danielslmd) June 16, 2021
Sales have been down for years. Only makes sense for better marketing. Sorry it doesn’t fit your narrative though— Kathy (@kathrynanton) June 16, 2021
funny how 95% of the users complaining about Victoria’s Secret rebranding are all white straight men pic.twitter.com/QQwzlwmVRY— 🌌NEED TO KNOW🌌 Out Friday 6/11 (@DBlueprintSavg) June 17, 2021
Tonight just keeps getting better. Victoria's Secret is rebranding and a lot of straight men have super important opinions about it.— Beau of The Fifth Column (@BeauTFC) June 17, 2021
The number of men who’ve said they’re never buying from Victoria’s Secret again as if their occasional purchase of a lace babydoll and g-string was the one thing keeping VS in business all these years.— Cora Harrington (@lingerie_addict) June 17, 2021