Gregg Easterbrook, who was as interesting in-person at Claremont as he is on his ESPN.com column, makes a good point:
…It’s far from clear the Victoria’s Secret visual ideal is even sexy, and I don’t mean those ridiculous angel wings. The majority of models in the company’s television specials and catalogs appear emaciated: not just a tad thin, but unhealthy. Most of them look as though they really need a milkshake but would be too weak to lift the glass. Why does extolling gauntness work as a sales strategy? Forget Victoria’s Secret lingerie models, give me pro sports cheerleaders as a sex symbol any day. NFL and NBA cheerleaders are fit, strong, confident and athletic — check the dance moves of the Philadelphia Eagles or Miami Heat cheerleaders, among others. All pro cheerleaders, plus most in college and many in high school, can drop and give you 25 straight-legged pushups. Obviously, pro cheerleaders are an impossible ideal in their own way: In the real world, no woman can always look great and always be smiling and outgoing. But cheerleaders are a positive archetype of fitness, confidence and upbeat life. Contrast that to the women in the Victoria’s Secret runway shows, who seem miserable.
Agreed. Runway models, to me, are usually unattractive. Ultra-skinny is overrated. Yet women — especially on college campuses — seem obsessed about becoming even skinnier, maybe because they see Victoria’s Secret ads and think the models represent the idealized feminine form for all men.
(hat tip to Newmark’s Door)