Victoria’s Secret “What Is Sexy” list is trash and here’s why

The Victoria’s Secret “What Is Sexy” list has been getting dragged pretty much since its inception, and this year was no exception. In a shocking twist that no one saw coming, 2017’s “What Is Sexy” list included eighteen white people out of twenty-four categories and absolutely no black or Latina women. Also, every single person save for James Corden, the only man on the list, was roughly 110 pounds soaking wet. Basically, this list was the Vogue “diversity” cover all over again.

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This is what is sexy.

Let’s take a look at the winners:

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The diversity we see here is Vanessa Hudgens, who is half Filipino. They literally have one half of a person of color in the first nine spots.

First of all, the fact that they’re voting Taylor Swift for any kind of award is laughable, given that she has replaced Anne Hathaway as being the woman that the Internet loves to hate. She also hasn’t released a damn album since 2014, so it’s kind of confusing how she can win “Sexiest Entertainer” since it is doubted that people are still entertained by “Bad Blood” and “Shake It Off.” But she fits the mold of young, white, and rail thin, so that might explain things.

But the bigger problem is within the first nine spots, the only diversity is Vanessa Hudgens, who is half Filipino. They literally couldn’t have a single person of color? No one else you could think of? Not Nicki Minaj, not Rihanna, not Zoe Saldana, no one?

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On the second tier, we see a little more diversity. Priyanka Chopra is an Indian actress, Jamie Chung is a Korean-American actress, Victoria Justice is half Puerto Rican, Chrissy Teigen is half Thai, and Olivia Munn is half Chinese. Here’s the problem: what even are these categories?

Sexiest red carpet look? Sexiest festival and street style? The only one that is decent and even kind of lends itself to the woman’s intelligence is Chrissy Teigen with sexiest author. The rest of them just further exemplify the same societal tropes that society has made abundantly clear it is sick of.

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Women disagree with Victoria’s Secret. THIS. REAL. This is what is sexy.

This is the reason why brands like Aerie and Adore Me are giving Victoria’s Secret a run for her money. To avoid the Photoshopping scandals that Victoria’s Secret constantly finds itself in, Aerie made a mindblowingly simple choice: 86 the Photoshop and instead show real, relatable women modeling the clothes, with no retouching. Women everywhere are choosing Aerie over Victoria’s Secret for this reason alone, even besides the fact that their prices are better and their stores don’t look like Valentine’s Day year round.

Which goes back to that awful list. If Victoria’s Secret is claiming to be the authority on what is sexy, they should look beyond the damn cartoon of what they think sexy is. You don’t have to be white to be sexy. You don’t have to weigh less than 125 pounds to be sexy. You don’t have to be 5’9 with abs and long, flowing hair to be sexy. You can just be you. Other companies see that, so why is Victoria’s Secret still acting with an Abercrombie & Fitch mentality?

All in all, this list was a complete white-washing and size-shaming, coming from a brand that is already not doing too hot. Personally, I suggest you spend your money at a store where they sell clothes in your size and they are proud of that fact.

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The San Bernadino school shooting was caused by domestic violence

It’s a sad, sad story that has gradually become the norm in American headlines: “Three people dead in a school shooting.” Only this time, it was not a bullied or troubled student that was the gunman in a high school; a 53 year old man entered an elementary school, went to his estranged wife’s special education classroom, and killed her, also striking two students. One was an eight year old boy who later died from his injuries. He then fatally shot himself.

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Cedric Anderson and Karen Smith were married for 72 days.

At face value, this story is incredibly heartbreaking. It’s the kind of meaningless violence that forces people to ask the question, “why?” And once more information became uncovered, that answer became abundantly clear.

Anderson was a serial domestic abuser who had threatened to kill before.

Interviews with Karen Smith’s mother reported another all too familiar story. Anderson was a great man for the four years Smith dated him. And then they got married and everything went downhill with great speed.

“She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all,” Sykes told the Los Angeles Times. A few weeks after their marriage, and a few weeks before their subsequent deaths, Smith wound up moving out of her own home that Anderson had moved into. She stayed with her adult children while she presumably awaited divorce proceedings.

This is a common theme in domestic homicide cases; the victim tries to leave the abuser, or they are successful in their leaving. At or after this point is when 75% of domestic homicide deaths occur. Even more troubling, if the violence occurs in a house with a gun, the chances of the victim being murdered jumps 500%.

And Smith was not the first woman Anderson abused. The police were called to his address on five separate occasions over the span of a year around 2013, and he was later arrested for assault and battery. He was arrested for spousal battery in 2012. In 1993, he was charged with two counts of battery.

If Smith had known these things beforehand, it is doubtful that she would have married Anderson. For situations like this, on commenter had an idea:

It has become very clear that something needs to be done in this subsection of justice.  Politicians and “the media” seem to be much more focused on terror attacks, of which 71 deaths on U.S. soil have resulted from 2005 to 2015. As much of an issue as this is, when that statistic is compared with those of domestic violence, one cannot help but wonder why there is not more legislative or media coverage of these issues.

Three women are killed everyday at the hands of their intimate partner abusers. Something as public as this event was, involving the death of a child, should not have to happen for legislatures nationwide to make a great effort in doing women everywhere a service.

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Trump revokes workplace protection for women right before Equal Pay Day (no, this isn’t satire)

Equal Pay Day is a symbolic event that is recognized each year. Usually taking place within the first two weeks of April (this year it took place on April 4th), it symbolizes how far women must work into the year to catch up to what men made monetarily in the year prior. This event helps bring to light the gender wage gap in countries around the world.

Apparently blissfully ignorant about such causes, on March 27th, the 45th President of the United States signed yet another executive order, revoking the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order that was put into place by President Barack Obama. Now, it might be just me, but fair pay and safe workplaces really sound like things I want to keep sticking around. They sound rather helpful.

Well, that’s because they are – or, were. The Obama-era order required companies that won federal contracts (which are worth millions and millions of dollars) to follow 14 civil rights and labor laws. These included ones that protected parental leave, attempted to prevent discrimination against women and minorities, helped ensure equal pay for women, and required fair practices surrounding the handling of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Why I, and presumably many others are wondering, is why would a president who said things like:

“Empowering and promoting women in business is an absolute priority in the Trump administration because I know how crucial women are as job creators, role models, and leaders all throughout our communities.”

do this? It is completely beyond me. And the juxtaposition of withdrawing such a crucial piece of legislation that certainly affects women everywhere with the nearness of Equal Pay Day is almost too good for a Hollywood script.

Still, the jury is still out on whether or not the wage gap is actually significant enough to symbolically drag all the way into April. According to some reports, the real Equal Pay Day should occur sometime in early January. This is due to the fact that the formula that is used to devise what day Equal Pay Day will take place on does not account for such factors as occupations, college majors, or length of time in the work place. It uses the unadjusted formula, and it simply compares the salaries of full time” workers. The adjusted formula, which accounts for personal choices that are made by both sexes, puts the actual wage gap at somewhere near 4.8-7 cents… not the 17-22 cent gap that is repeatedly perpetuated by the media.

As caustic as this misinformation might be, the workplace protections that Trump revoked could cause an even greater problem in the lives of working women.

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#BlackWomenAtWork displays the discrimination that women of color deal with everyday

Entitled, insensitive, disrespectful, middle-aged white men have struck again this week, this time in the form of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Spicer. Take a moment to collect yourself, as I’m sure the previous statement was shocking.

In an appearance on Fox & Friends (which is not a children’s show), after they played a clip of Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaking about the shortcomings of the Trump administration, O’Reilly’s sole commentary was simply that he hadn’t been able to pay any attention to what she was saying. He was too distracted by her “James Brown wig.”

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This man (no man!) has no right to be speaking on a woman’s appearance.

That same day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer chastised veteran reporter April Ryan for shaking her head while he was speaking, after he had indirectly answered her question about President Trump’s ties to Russia. Keep in mind that this is a forty-nine year old woman who has been a White House correspondent for twenty years… being treated like a grumpy toddler.

These comments and actions are not only sexist and racist, but they are also representative of a bigger problem; the adverse situations that professional women who also happen to be black find themselves in on an everyday basis.

Educator and activist Brittany Packnett decided she had heard and experienced quite enough and went to Twitter to lay on the realness:

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And women of color rose up to show a side of the workplace many white people never knew existed (at least I didn’t):

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Like I said, I never realized these were issues that women of color still faced in 2017. Work is trying enough without being constantly slighted and demeaned, which seems to be the reality that these women frequently face.

Don’t get me wrong, although I totally believe that there are times where actions are made intentionally and with sad anterior motives, a larger part of me definitely thinks that a lot of these examples are due to sheer ignorance. It shouldn’t be that hard to have common decency in the workplace, and people should not be so apprehensive and assumptive about people who look different than them… but they are.

At the same time, black women have become the most highly educated demographic in the nation, so the people exampled above who seem uncomfortable or unyielding to black women in the work place need to figure it out. Maxine Waters said it best:

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Technology exacerbates the bystander effect in sexual assault cases

This week in ways technology is simultaneously making our lives much, much better while also destroying it, an audience of at least 40 people watched a Facebook Live streaming of a 15 year old girl being raped by six men. And not one of those people called for help.

To make the story even sicker, it seems that peers of the victim are now harassing her on social media and sending her family threats, so much so that she has yet to return to her home after being found.

This story brings to light a couple very troubling aspects of sexual assault that most people do not consider. The first is the bystander effect. This is a term that explains the public’s unwillingness to step in and help people in distress. In this instance, 40 people saw a 15 year old girl being dragged onto a bed by six men and no one even tried to call for help… but some took screenshots and some even chose to repost them.

This portrays the tendency of people in society today to whip out their phones when they see something bad (an argument, a physical altercation, a sexual assault) instead of choosing to step in and help the situation. There are Twitter accounts and websites where you can watch phone footage of people fighting each other, usually with others cheering them on int he background. People would rather have recognition on social media than to do the uncomfortable thing and act like a decent human being.

Secondly, the more recent developments in this story perfectly portray victim-blaming. Middle and high school aged teenagers are psychologically more likely to be unabashedly mean. They are insecure, they have a pack mentality, and their moral compasses have not yet fully developed – this is largely why the teenage years are torture for most children. Not to mention rape victims who have had photos and videos of their assaults posted and passed around their schools, only to face harassment instead of empathy.

There have been many documented cases of exactly this happening. The victim in the Steubenville rape case was harassed by the community for sullying the good name of the town and its football team, even though she was passed out when two football players sexually assaulted her and photographed and videotaped it. Daisy Coleman‘s family was ran out of town after their house mysteriously burned to the ground when they tried to prosecute the son of a well-known family in town. She was raped and dumped on her front lawn, later found suffering from frostbite by her brother. She was 14 years old.

Retaeh Parsons and Audrie Potts, both 15, had something else in common; they both committed suicide after photos of their sexual assaults went viral around their high schools. They were both viciously bullied by their peers due to actions that were inflicted upon them when they were literally unconscious.

The question is, how long will cases like these continue to come to light before everyone realizes they have a part to play in preventing them? Parents need to educate and protect their children. Law enforcement needs to understand and work for victims. Potential attackers need to learn the definition of consent and compassion. Victims need to protect themselves from risky situations.

Most of all, we all need to do something if we see something wrong happening. Put down the camera and choose to act, instead.

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Tomi Lahren gets a dose of her own medicine in an ironic twist

It’s quite possible that Tomi Lahren is one of the Internet’s most controversial figures. Her “Final Thoughts” videos are literally unavoidable, whether they are shared on Facebook by someone who agrees with her message, or they are mentioned in a Tweet ridiculing everything about them. For these reasons, no one can deny her success and, through the inescapable nature of her popularity, her influence. But, much like everyone in the political atmosphere today, she has her critics, even in unexpected places.

 

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She capitalizes on the divisive nature of today’s political climate.

During an appearance on the talk show The View earlier this week, Lahren confessed that, apparently, she is pro-choice, saying, “I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.” …about as eloquent as you could expect.

Even though it seems like no one is buying that statement, the repercussions were swift and strong: The Blaze, the network founded by Glen Beck that features her show Tomi, suspended Lahren for a week.

Since then, she has taken to Twitter to become just about as close to the “snowflakes” she has made her career complaining about she can possibly get, without organizing a march for herself. Although that’s probably because no one would attend, considering she has now ostracized herself from both parties.

Much of the backlash of these statements comes from the fact that three months ago, during a December show, she stated, “The pro-choicers are supposed to be about rare and safe abortions. That’s how they avoid sounding like straight-up baby killers. Then we have Lena freakin’ Dunham out there wishing she could have murdered a fetus.”

Now, either these statements were fueled by red hot Lena Dunham hatred, or it seems like Lahren decided to flip flop her opinions to match those of the liberally leaning ladies of The View. Conversely, she could’ve just been using buzzwords like “baby killers” and “murder” to rile up her audience into buying her impassioned rant – although that seems entirely unlike her.

Regardless, any and all hints at attempting to garner sympathy have fallen on deaf ears. The statement that got her into this situation was very hypocritical to begin with, but all of the “stay positive” and “we shouldn’t silence others’ opinions” statements she has been putting on her Twitter page have only continued to make her the butt of her own joke.

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The world cannot be this ironic without imploding.

Personally, I don’t think it’s okay for liberal people to be defending her. If these are the views she has carried all along, then this should be a lesson to all political thought influencers out there that there are repercussions for following party attitudes they don’t actually believe in. She never cared about the voices of others being heard until hers was silenced, and it shouldn’t take an event like this to teach an adult how empathy works.

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The “gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast is a disappointingly not big deal

The media has literally not shut up about the upcoming Walt Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast since it was announced back in late May of last year. With its release date drawing ever closer (this weekend, in fact), it seems like the media has reached a fever pitch – and while the revamp as a whole has been sussed out as not that great, the one part that keeps hitting media headlines is, as the director put it, Disney’s first ever “exclusively gay moment” on film.

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Let it go, let it go.

Apparently, during the film and especially during what many critics have said is the best part of the movie, the “Gaston (reprise)” there is a slight amount of one-sided sexual tension between Luke Evans’ Gaston and Josh Gad’s character, Gaston’s henchman, LeFou. This culminates at the end of the movie in a short cut to LeFou dancing with another man.

And that’s it. That’s the scene. The whole thing. A brief cutaway to two men dancing. The other guy isn’t even Gaston. That’s seriously it.

Keep in mind, this is the same scene that has caused the owners of an Alabama drive-in to refuse to show the film, saying, “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.”

Disney has also made the decision to pull the film entirely from Malaysia, as the country had requested that over four minutes of the film be censored before they could allow their audiences to view it. Russia, in lenient contrast, chose to give this film a 16+ age restriction, instead of banning it altogether, since the movie could be considered as breaking the country’s gay propaganda laws.

To me and to many, this is all ridiculous in more ways than one. Obviously there is nothing explicit or inappropriate happening here, regardless of the way it has been construed by the aforementioned channels. God (literally) forbid a movie normalize behavior that is utterly and entirely normal.

Honestly, the real travesty is to me that Disney has used this simple dance as a copout way to break the Internet with its “first openly gay character.” I think that for them to try and steal the spotlight in this way, through tepidly adding a small dancing scene that people probably would have never noticed, had it not been sensationalized, really cheapens the act of writing a gay character in and of itself.

Disney, if you truly wanted to change the world by introducing the first openly character in a mainstream children’s movie, this wasn’t it. If you want to reap the benefits of the controversy and publicity of such a “bold” move, then actually make one next time. This was just a small, overly dissected, subplot.

Be my guest and try again.

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