Volume 91, Issue 83

Friday, March 6, 1998

100 bottles of beer


Only skin deep

Re: The impossible body

To the Editor:
I received my Victoria's Secret catalogue today in the mail, so before sitting down to work on one of my essays, I leafed through the pages. This time I didn't pay much attention to the clothing or "bras and panties," but rather, I was struck by the emaciated and seductive women that adorned every page. All of the models were about five-foot-ten and weigh between 115-120 pounds; most of which is accumulated in their breasts.

I'm sure that if I wanted to, I could argue that this is misogyny, that it is a product of a patriarchal society that objectifies and sexualizes women through a "male glaze," but as soon as these "feminist" terms are thrown in, most of the audience is already lost.

The truth is that I am disturbed by this catalogue because I know how it makes me feel. For a few fleeting moments I look through the pages and I feel beautiful, thin and seductive; I am these women, I just need to lose a few pounds and grow about a foot, but then anything is possible. After all, I'm not supposed to be merely buying clothes, I'm also buying an image.

Unfortunately, as soon as I get up from looking at the catalogue and see my true reflection in the mirror, the reflection of the body of a healthy 22-year-old woman which is all of a sudden not good enough. On an average day I usually feel reasonably good about myself, I am healthy and energetic and that is what matters most to me. Yet I know the day the new Victoria's Secret catalogue comes out, I just won't "measure up" in any respect. So from now on I will refuse to look through its pages, because I believe women these days have a hard enough time with their self-esteem without having to battle with a flood of unattainable images of so called "beautiful women."

Clare Tattersall
Hon. English/Women's Studies IV

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Copyright The Gazette 1998