The Victoria’s Secret brand hopes to showcase a ‘transgender’ biological man in women’s underwear, says Ed Razek, the brand’s chief marketing officer.
Razek’s statement came after progressives and transgender activists rallied on social media to complain he was excluding men who live as women from the brand’s glitzy idealization of women’s sexual power.
Razek sparked the dispute when he told Vogue that the company uses different fashion shows and different brands to target different groups of women:
I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. If you’re asking if we’ve … looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. 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.
But the company is under constant social media pressure to weaken the hugely valuable brand by sharing its feminine glamor with non-targeted groups, he said. “The hate that’s on social media, it’s extraordinarily toxic … Where does it end?” he said, adding:
So it’s like, why don’t you do [size] 50? Why don’t you do [size] 60? Why don’t you do [size] 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? 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. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.
Introducing the $1 Million Dream Angels #VSFantasyBra, worn by @elsahosk & designed by Atelier Swarovski. See it sparkle on the runway in the #VSFashionShow, Sunday, Dec. 2 at 10/9c on @ABCNetwork. https://t.co/uCo2JsirUy pic.twitter.com/f1BnlX3QYE
— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 5, 2018
Progressives and men who want to be glamorous women complained bitterly about their being excluded from the brand.
In response, Razek rapidly backtracked and issued a press statement saying he hoped a “transgender model” would be used in a show. But he carefully did not promise to hire a transgender model, saying:
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
The Tweeted message, however, excluded the “hope” comment from the email statement sent to ModernFashionNews.com:
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” Razek said via email. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings … And like many others, they didn’t make it … But it was never about gender. Honestly, I really hope that a transgender model will make the show soon. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
So far, many business groups have made cost-free political alliances with transgender advocates, usually via the companies’ long-standing support of gay advocacy groups. But some companies — notably Target — have suffered badly when their customers resist the company’s imposition of pro-transgender ideology on their preferences. RuPaul, a gay activist, has also been slammed for excluding transgender people from his televised mockery of heterosexual Americans.
In the Victoria’s Secret dispute, Razek created a backlash by explaining the brand’s business case for avoiding transgender advocacy.
The progressive complaints aimed at Razek and the brand were personal, aggrieved and did not include any business arguments for changing the brand’s image.
Mic.com suggested Razek is just like President Donald Trump:
Doubling down on the hateful speech, Razek used the justification of the show being “fantasy” to excuse the lack of casting of transgender models (whom he called “transsexuals,” a term that is often but not always considered pejorative). “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
This was a powerful white man — caught on the record — asserting a disregard for truth and an unflappable arrogance toward the livelihood of other human beings. Sound familiar?
In reality, Trump is using his authority to clarify that the sex of people involved in sex-discrimination legal fights will be based on their male or female body, not on their claimed “gender identity.”
“You know what I’m doing? I’m protecting everybody,” Trump said October 22. “We have a lot of different concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender, right now.”
Jezebel covered the Razek statement by emphasizing the personal:
The 70-year-old Razek, who is part of the casting team that chooses the models for each show, gave some bizarrely out-of-touch answers in the interview, lambasting critics as being “haters” who want too much diversity in the show and describing trans models as “transexuals.” He comes off as a complete joke and absolute asshole and is clearly the reason the company is stuck in 2005.
Men who live as women used Twitter to make their voice heard:
This is for all my trans friends and cisgender women friends that are average or plus sized rather than support the bigoted Victoria Secret
8 Transgender-Friendly Lingerie Brands to Support Instead of Victoria's Secret – Teen Vogue https://t.co/ACNnEE19Iw
— Vanessa Denise Capella (@SexnerdsVanessa) November 12, 2018
Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be and if that intentionally doesn't include trans women, then that's your prejudice talking. The reality is that trans women are desired by many, to suggest otherwise is shortsighted and without doubt transphobic.
— ＭＵＮＲＯＥ 🌹🌹 (@MunroeBergdorf) November 10, 2018
Check out what @Peppermint247, @GiaGunn, @ItsMeBillieLee, @FelicityHayward and more plus-size, transgender and gender nonconforming models and non-models have to say about @VictoriasSecret CMO Edward Razek's recent comments: https://t.co/t4twndPRzM pic.twitter.com/TD4qTYYll3
— Mic (@mic) November 12, 2018
Victoria’s Secret is that she’s transphobic and hates fat people. https://t.co/NTRrrGCjsu
— would you still be in love? (@mermaidthuglife) November 11, 2018
This is our week of resistance, our week of resilience, our week of remembrance! Transgender & nonbinary people have existed and fought back against anti-trans attacks for generations; we carry this legacy. Be bold. Be loud. Be you. #OurTransTRUTH
— Trans Youth (TRUTH) Program (@ourtranstruth) November 13, 2018
However, critics of the Transgender Ideology scoffed at the progressives’ demand that Victoria’s Secret include a transgender man in their line-up of models:
Listen to how angry these feminists are that Victoria Secret models are hot, skinny, and…….women.https://t.co/4Nxz93fJQO
— Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) November 11, 2018
It's Victoria's Secret not Victor's Secret.
— Tom (@UncleTomSawyer) November 12, 2018
Good. It's, their brand, their choice. People don't think "Victoria's Secret" and think of bearded ladies (Like the one that won a pageant earlier) or those on the more plush size (Which can be nice too) let alone dead-of-heart-attack-by-40 size. They're fit healthy women.
— SanityUnseen (@Blunderbuckets) November 11, 2018
The transgender ideology is deeply unpopular, especially among women and parents. In 2017, Obama told NPR that his promotion of the transgender ideology made it easier for Donald Trump to win the presidency. Multiple polls show that most Americans wish to help and comfort people who think they are a member of the opposite sex, even as they also reject the transgender ideology’s claim that a person’s legal sex is determined by their feeling of “gender identity,” not by biology.
The transgender movement is diverse, so its different factions have different goals and priorities.
It includes sexual liberationists, progressives, feminists who wish to blur distinctions between the two sexes, and people who glamorize the distinctions between the two sexes. It includes high-profile children, people who are trying to live as members of the opposite sex, and people trying to “detransition” back to their sex, men who demand sex from lesbians, masculine autogynephiles, wealthy donors, politicians, political professionals, and medical service providers.
Transgender advocates claim that 2 million Americans say they are transgender, to a greater or lesser extent. But very few people who describe themselves as transgender undergo cosmetic surgery of the genitals. Only about 4,118 Americans surgically altered their bodies in hospitals from 2000 to 2014 to appear like members of the opposite sex, according to a pro-transgender medical study.
Yet the gender ideology is rapidly gaining power, aided by huge donations from wealthy individuals and medical companies. In Ohio, for example, in February, a judge forced parents of a teenage girl to give up custody so she can begin a lifetime of drug treatments and surgery that will allow her to appear as a male.
The progressive push to bend Americans’ attitudes and their male and female civic society around the idea of “gender identity” has already attacked and cracked many of the popular social rules that help Americans manage the cooperation and competition among and between complementary, different, and equal men and women.
These pro-gender claims have an impact on different-sex bathrooms, shelters for battered women, sports leagues for girls, hiking groups for boys, K-12 curricula, university speech codes, religious freedoms, free speech, the social status of women, parents’ rights in childrearing, children’s safety, practices to help teenagers, health outcomes, women’s ideals of beauty, culture and civic society, scientific research, prison safety, civic ceremonies, school rules, men’s sense of masculinity, law enforcement, military culture, and children’s sexual privacy.