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Victoria’s Secret came under fire on social media Friday after an executive for the lingerie brand’s parent company made comments about why it doesn’t use transgender models in an interview with Vogue.
Asked if Victoria’s Secret had considered hiring transgender models for its advertising, Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Limited Brands, said the company had considered it but ultimately decided not to.
“If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have,” Razek said. “We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.”
Twitter user @doombuggys tweeted the interview segment, writing, “It’s incredible tht they think this is an acceptable argument. they have [so much] power over young people’s body image, power to actually address tht ‘hey! not everyone looks like kendall jenner bc they cant hire a nutritionist/personal trainer/get surgery’. this is just laziness.”
it’s incredible tht they think this is an acceptable argument. they have sm power over young people’s body image, power to actually address tht ‘hey! not everyone looks like kendall jenner bc they cant hire a nutritionist/personal trainer/get surgery’. this is just laziness— ᴋᴇᴀᴛ (@doombuggys) November 9, 2018
As the conversation shifted to criticism of Victoria’s Secret on Instagram, Razek doubled down on saying the company had no plans to hire trans models for its fashion shows.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this?” Razek said. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
- What it means to be transgender
- Breaking down the difference between gender identity and sex
- The dirty, complex, empowering history of the word ‘queer’
Update 2:42pm CT, Nov. 14: Victoria’s Secret Lingerie CEO Jan Singer is leaving her position less than a week after Razek’s remarks on transgender and plus-size models, Nylon reports.
The New York Daily News reports that L Brands will officially announce Singer’s resignation on Monday. After receiving criticism on social media last week, Razek reversed his comments in a statement saying that the company would “absolutely” cast a trans model.
“We’ve had transgender models come to castings,” the statement said. “And like many others, they didn’t make it.”
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.