Pinups in the Post-Weinstein World
This is a big week for women in their underwear.
On Tuesday, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, a.k.a. “the world’s biggest fashion event,” airs on TV in the United States, and millions of people are expected to tune in to watch models including Karlie Kloss and Bella Hadid and Lais Ribeiro strut down a runway in Shanghai, wearing thigh-high lace-up stiletto boots, various filmy bits of lingerie and one diamond-bedecked $2 million bra, many of them with gigantic wings sprouting from their shoulders.
Then, on Friday, Love, the British magazine beloved of fashion insiders and run by the super-stylist Katie Grand, will begin the online rollout of what has become its biggest event of the year: a video Advent calendar. This year’s version features short films of assorted celebrity models boxing and bouncing and otherwise making muscles in varying amounts — or not — of clothing. The videos will appear every day between Dec. 1 and early January.
Last year, 1.4 billion people in 192 countries saw the Victoria’s Secret show, and 84 million watched the Love videos (11 million watched Ms. Hadid’s alone), according to each company. Those figures are far and away the largest numbers of viewers who come to either brand, and among the largest numbers of viewers attached to a fashion event of any sort. There’s a clear business imperative for the undress-for-success concept.
But in the current cultural climate, where powerful men are tumbling like bowling pins because of bad behavior that has its roots in the objectification of women, what about the moral imperative? What fantasy, exactly, is all this feeding?
The issue of the pinup in a post-Weinstein world is more complicated than it may first appear.
“In the wake of the Harvey fallout and women coming forward with incredible amounts of sexual harassment cases, I have been so disappointed to hear women talk about ‘modesty’ and ‘our responsibility,’ as if we need to, yet again, adjust to make it ‘easier’ for the rest of the world,” said Emily Ratajkowski, whose video — in which she drapes herself suggestively in spaghetti while wearing lacy lingerie and knit gloves — is scheduled for Day 3 of the Love calendar.
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