Who remembers when Victoria’s Secret stopped mailing out their famous catalogs in 2016? Right after it happened, I remember reading how retail analysts called it “every guy’s worst nightmare”. That phrase always stuck with me. Now don’t get me wrong… I love Victoria’s Secret lingerie and I have plenty of it in my boudoir studio’s closet! But when I saw this in the news, I thought, “Why shouldn’t it be every woman’s worst nightmare? We’re the ones who purchase and wear the products.”
It was in this moment that I realized corporations and the media weren’t even hiding it anymore. They were just stating what most women have known all along – that feeling beautiful wasn’t really about us at all. All of the gorgeous lingerie. All of the dazzling fashion shows. All of the glossy catalogs filled with must-have looks. All so you can look good for someone else.
This has really been going on forever. No matter the culture, females are often raised to believe it’s their duty to please other people. We’re told to smile even when we’re not feeling happy. Or to stay quiet because voicing our opinions may sound bossy. We’re taught that imperfections should be improved upon, not embraced. This constant pressure to people-please has led many of us to feel anxious and depressed or to develop low self esteem. I’m certainly not saying it’s wrong to make others happy. But I’m saying that doing it all of the time without being true to your own self strips away your feelings of control.
Now if you think back to 2016 and 2017, you’ll recall that something in this narrative began to change. The #MeToo movement happened. Women also started asking why every size, skin tone and age couldn’t be celebrated for being beautiful. They asked why pregnant women couldn’t be sexy too. It didn’t take long for us women to wake up and see that being unique is what makes us beautiful. We finally understood that being sexy had little to do with what other people thought of us, and everything to do with personal empowerment. Most importantly, we realized that we didn’t need a brand to tell us otherwise. You know that phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Well, finally it was time for us to be the beholders!
With all this said, I’m not surprised in the least bit to hear that Rihanna’s online lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty, is now set to become the lingerie empire of the future. Last week, Savage announced that it’s valued at more than $1 billion. The company generated $150 million in revenue in 2020, with 200% year-over-year growth. It also has almost 4 million followers on Instagram. Could the reason for its success be because it embraces diversity in every form? I believe so. Everyone is encouraged to feel beautiful and sexy – no exceptions. From drag queens to women and men of every shape and size – there’s something for just about everyone on their website. And they will soon be opening brick-and-mortar stores.
Rhianna’s goal from Day 1 with Savage has always been to “create a brand where women are firmly in control of their body and sexual experience”. Savage’s message is simple. Instead of beauty being about what others think of us, it’s about what we think of ourselves. There’s no shame in having lots of curves or scars or anything that makes us different – there’s only celebration.
As a boudoir photographer, I’m thrilled to see this movement gaining more strength every day. Just like Savage, boudoir is all about accepting yourself and loving who you are. The more we can teach today’s women and men about cherishing themselves, the more amazing the future will be for us all.
PS. I will soon be adding Savage lingerie to my “Getting Ready Guide”. Stay tuned!