The Fashion Show

Antics on the runway.

For me Tuesday night means NCIS and my weekly shot of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).  Eight o’clock – prime time – perfect timing. The dishes are done, the kitchen cleaned up; I’ve got a slice of pie on a dessert plate, a cup of tea and I’m ready for some fine forensic detective work.

Yet, on this past Tuesday night at 8 o’clock, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was what CBS was offering, and since I didn’t want to watch that, I grabbed the pie, retreated to my study and lost a couple of hours watching stuff on TED on my laptop.

Wanting to give CBS another try, at ten I went back downstairs, flopped down on the futon, grabbed the remote and punched in channel 4.  I was mesmerized.  I don’t really watch a lot of television, and for all I know this show is on every week, or at least every year – an annual event, much anticipated by the viewing public. But it was all new to me.  A first, and probably a last.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  According to one website 10.3 million viewers tuned into this extravaganza, a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49. (Give the American public credit, though, an NCIS repeat at 9pm  pulled in a much bigger audience.)

I couldn’t avert my eyes from the TV.  I was snagged, hopelessly snared as one after another of a seemingly endless bevy of young women sashayed down the runway, clad only in their underwear, with large gleaming plastic prostheses mounted on their backs – angel wings we were told.  Unfortunately, some wag convinced one of the models to wear something mounted a little lower on the back, resembling a bustle. I have no idea what that was supposed be, an historical reference to some vestigial human appendage perhaps or homage to Queen Victoria.  Droll, very droll.

Now I want to make it clear that I have nothing against Victoria’s Secret.  I have been known to purchase some items there (boy, those were the days), but it wasn’t the garments that caught my attention, it was the models.

It was as if the Stretchy Toy Company had offered a new product to compete with their Bag of Stretchy Men:  The Bag of Stretchy Models. Each girl appeared to have improbably long legs. I know that they all wore heels the height of which is reported to drive men wild.  But even accounting for that, those legs would have left Barby feeling jealous and thinking that “they can’t be real”. And yet there were.

Okay, I admit it, I didn’t spend the whole hour watching this spectacle straight through.  I did have to take periodic breaks. So I may have missed some important plot development.  At several points the prancing would cease and some sort of interview would take place.  A coy, giggling girl would confess that she had always dreamed of becoming an angel. This definitely falls in the “be-careful-what-you-wish-for “ category.  I had trouble making sense out of anything else the girls said.

I’m used to seeing women in some pretty strange get-ups.  But this show set a new standard.  I have trouble imagining what an equivalent show employing male models would look like. But maybe I just need to ponder that idea more and not give up so easily. 

So this is what the women’s movement was all about. Claiming the freedom to march down the runway, heaving that bony pelvis from side to side (I see lumbar problems down the road), digging those stilettos into the floor, with feathers and sequins, all sultry and pouty, glittering and shiny.

Wait a minute. That’s not new.  Wasn’t that what went on at the Roxy Theatre at the end of the Nineteenth Century?  Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Two steps forward, one step back. 

At eleven o’clock I was ready to skip to the cable channels and find Dance Moms, the only show that could possibly follow the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.


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Sally Helwig December 01, 2011 at 10:31 PM
I saw the preview for this show, but that was enough. It is clear that the media especially TV, print and Hollywood movies have contributed to the decline in the advances made by the women's movement. The fact that a major network considered this show worthy of prime time TV is really a sad commentary on today's society. What kind of messages are we sending our young girls?
Lynda Houston December 01, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Yes, I agree but it saddens me to think that this is what women's liberation looks like in 2011! Well done...
Wendy Bornstein December 02, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Great review of the show . Sorry to have missed it and glad to enjoy on demand:)


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