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The beach season is almost here and you know what that means. Stop eating. NOW. Nothing but carrot sticks until September.

That seems to be the message behind the Bombshell Summer campaign by Victoria’s Secret, which includes several images that show visible ribs on the company’s increasingly emaciated supermodels.

It’s hard to tell whether the anorexic look of the summer promotion is the result of photoshopping or recent weight loss from some of the VS Angels, in particular Erin Heatherton (above) and Candice Swanepoel. Regardless, these are not muscles we’re looking at, folks, and this is not a healthy body type to aspire toward, no matter what anyone tells you.

More likely, the alarming images are probably the result of models being asked to pose in a way that pushes their ribcage forward, exposing the skeletal lines on their already-lean frames. In the series below, for example, there are a couple of shots of Adriana Lima with ribs showing — even though the Brazilian beauty is considered one of the curvier (and healthiest-looking) Angels.

The images below appear to be heavily photoshopped (as usual), but it’s hard to imagine any fashion brand would be so cynical as to ADD shadow effects to create skeletal lines. A ribcage is not a fashion accessory.

Victoria’s Secret has an ignominious history of promoting unhealthy body stereotypes by using only the leanest models and then ‘slimming’ them further through photo retouching. The Bombshell Summer campaign does nothing to dispel that reputation.

Then again, it’s hard to persuade VS that there’s anything wrong with all this, especially since they reported a phenomenal 25% year-over-year sales growth this week. Obviously skinny sells. Sexy Little Ribs™, anyone?

Below are images we’ve taken from the Bombshell Summer campaign and new products on the Victoria’s Secret website. The images have NOT been retouched in any way — at least not by us.

Posted in Victoria's Secret

3 Responses to “Sexy Little Ribs™: Victoria’s Secret’s Alarming Summer Photo Campaign”

  1. K. Inez says:

    They don’t look overly thin to me… They look like they’re incredibly fit. My ribs show when I sit certain ways too, and I’m not in the best possible shape.

  2. James Lightbown says:

    This has just made me quite mad…

    There’s a massive campaign to curb photoshop and retouching and then when photoshop is done less you complain again!

    Lingerie models are thin… it’s their shape, the pose to create a dynamic shape, put their shoulders back a little, lean back and then ribs appear. These aren’t anorexic models they are beautiful models with a good shape and when they pose without photoshop this is what they look like!

    My partner is a size 8 (UK) model, she’s been in the industry 10 years. She has never dieted, she doesn’t go to the gym… however we eat healthily, she takes the occasional pilates class and we walk occasionally, ie she has a normal lifestyle – when she poses for lingerie shoots this is what she looks like, her ribs show.

    You cry out for unretouched images and then when you get them you write a sensationalised panic inducing piece.

    I am a lingerie and swimwear photographer, I won’t shoot with girls that are too thin, don’t look healthy but I see ribs like this on every shoot I do with healthy and happy girls.

    As this is a lingerie specialist blog, you’ve not actually focused on the lingerie. In the shot you renamed VS_Ribs_11 do you not think that if they were going to go to all the trouble of giving the model those ribs that they’d have also gone to the trouble of retouching out the very dark shadow underneath the bra band that makes it look ill fitting, something that is done on images.

    Retouching and photoshop is so much more that changing a models shape.

    If you are going to write sensationalist, knee jerk pieces about wanting some realism to women’s bodies then please learn to recognise how amazing some women’s bodies look in reality!

    I RSS’d your feed to as part of my research for shooting, suffice to say I will be unsubscribing from now on.

    • admin says:

      James makes a valid point that we hadn’t really considered: perhaps those ribs are visible because VS chose to NOT airbrush them out, which, as James points out, would be a way of responding to the related issue of photo retouching. Nevertheless, we remain concerned about the broader issue of what a healthy body should look like, and how images like these impact young girls in particular. In our opinion, lingerie models don’t have to be this thin. – Editor

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