MINQ > VSFS

MINQ > Victoria Secret Fashion Show

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This Friday, February 6th, Goatface presents its 9th annual MINQ Charity Lingerie Fashion Show. All proceeds will be donated to the Kingston University Hospital Foundation’s Palliative Care Unit.

Every year, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show notoriously attracts the excitement of men and women of all ages… and sizes. It seems as if the world freezes to watch the Victoria’s Secret Angels strut their six-foot, flawless, zero-body-fat bodies down the runway. Of course, watching this highly televised fashion show is not without negative consequences to the viewer’s self- esteem. Many of us have experienced episodes of binge-eating our feelings while simultaneously hating ourselves for not mirroring the ideal body images portrayed by the Victoria’s Secret Angels. And that is why each year I am (or feel like at least) the one woman on earth who refuses to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

My friends tell me that I’m crazy for boycotting the VSFS, but I’ve always thought I was doing myself a favour. It breaks my heart to hear young girls whisper “I wish I looked like that” and “her body is perfect; I’m not eating for a week”. I want to shake them: is it not clear that these model’s bodies are unrealistic? We have to realize that it is these models’ jobs to make themselves look this way- and what’s more, they have the resources to do it. Along with personal trainers, nutritionists, dieticians, and personal makeup and hair stylists, models still push their health to extremes in order to prepare for the marathon that is the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Victoria’s Secret icon Adriana Lima admitted to going on a nine-day liquid diet with two workouts per day to prepare for the show. So why do we continue to watch the VSFS show so avidly knowing that it will negatively contribute to our self- esteem?

The truth is, no matter how many grueling hours I spend at the gym, I will never look like a Victoria’s Secret Model. Nor do I want to. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down looking like Candice Swanepoel or Alessandra Ambrosio. However, am I willing to trade who I am to be judged solely on my appearance? Absolutely not.

BUT WAIT. As many of you may know, students of Queen’s University are hosting their own version of the VSFS with student models: The MINQ Lingerie Fashion Show. So what makes MINQ different from the VSFS? Am I a hypocrite for supporting MINQ, but not the VSFS?

The reason I support the MINQ Lingerie Fashion Show, and plan to actually model in it this year (ah!), is that it has very little to do with the lingerie, or being a perfect model. Instead, MINQ is about celebrating everyone’s unique body types. Let me tell you- it is not easy to strip down and walk in front of an audience, even more so when those watching you are your peers. However, MINQ aims to make it a fun and empowering experience, leaving students inspired by the models’ courage and confidence to embrace themselves and their bodies. So often, the difficulty is not in seeing the beauty in others, but in ourselves, and MINQ helps Queen’s University students to do so.

As veteran MINQ model Hayley Kleyhans explained to me when I asked her about her MINQ experience: “The feeling of empowerment that overwhelms you after the show is unlike anything I have ever felt… Like any other young individual living in North American society, I am constantly bombarded by the immense social pressures that burden you to conform to unrealistic body image ideals. I recently read a quote that said “it is more socially acceptable to hate your body than to love it”, and unfortunately it’s true. How often do you hear a young girl saying, “I love my body”? That’s why I love that Queen’s puts on a show like MINQ, because it aims to reinforce that we should learn to put aside these negative notions, and rather focus on embracing both our insecurities and differences, and ultimately learn to accept and love them.”

So for me, here it is- the big difference between Victoria’s Secret and MINQ: The MINQ models are RELATABLE, and they are your peers. They go to Queen’s like the rest of the students watching them, and they have their own unique ambitions, personalities, and FLAWS. Although they are modelling, their looks do not define who they are.

If you want to come see for yourself, come show your support for MINQ and cheer on your fellow Queen’s classmates this February 6th at Stages Nightclub. Who knows; I may trip on the runway like Carrie from Sex and the City and end up as fashion road kill… now that would be some real entertainment.

Yours Creatively

Chelsea Cameron, Online Contributor

Photographs: Sophie Barkham and Alex Gordan

Graphic: Sophie Barkham