Fox and ABC have told Lane Bryant that the reason they won’t run their ads when Lane Bryant wants, or without making lots of edits and adjustments, is that the ads are too racy. But these networks are just fine with running Victoria’s Secret ads. As Lane Bryant points out:
“Yes, these are the same networks that have scantily-clad housewives so desperate they seduce every man on the block — and don’t forget Bart Simpson, who has shown us the moon more often than NASA — all in what they call ‘family hour.’ … Does this smack of a double standard? Yep. It does to us, too.”
Our new commercials represent the sensuality of the curvy woman who has more to show the world than the typical waif-like lingerie model. What we didn’t know was that the networks, which regularly run Victoria’s Secret and Playtex advertising on the very shows from which we’re restricted, would object to a different view of beauty. If Victoria’s Secret and Playtex can run ads at any time during the 9pm to 10pm hour, why is Lane Bryant restricted only to the final 10 minutes?
By the way, you can see the commercial here:
It shows a nicely curvy white woman trying on dresses and bra/panty sets and looking at herself in the mirror – she smiles a lot at what she sees. Classy piano music plays in the background. We are shown some passing closeups of her waist. The female narrator with a standard American accent says: “Mom always said beauty was skin deep. A smile is the best make-up. It’s what’s underneath that counts.” Then she gets a text message on her phone: “Calendar Reminder: Meet Dan for lunch.” The narrator says, “Somehow I don’t think this is what Mom had in mind.” Her smile broadens. The narration says, “Introducing Cacique Intimates, exclusively at Lane Bryant – so sexy, so not what Mom would wear.” She puts a black overcoat on over her matching bra and panties and leaves the house, giving the camera a knowing look over her shoulder as she closes her front door behind her. (By the way, her home is gorgeous and looks expensive.) The final frame says “Nobody fits you like Lane Bryant” and so does the narration.
And here‘s the Victoria’s Secret ad Lane Bryant claims is being allowed to run in spots where theirs isn’t:
It shows a number of models (of various races) slinking around in traditional Sexy Photo Shoot mode, as if they’re trying to show off their breasts and hips simultaneously. Rock music with a sort of jungle-savages-meet-Bollywood-as-retold-by-Honkies motif plays in the background. They all wear what I call the “Botox Glare” as a facial expression – a sullen look that’s meant to be sultry. We get closeups of be-pantied crotches, women running their hands over their bodies as draped cloths fall off of them, and wind – lots and lots of wind blowing hair. Many of the bras feature animal prints and there’s a corner of two bamboo walls where the women get pressed into the corner, suggesting a primal jungle stalking motif. The female narrator with some exotic-ish British Empire accent (sorry, I can’t tell what it’s supposed to be): “Victoria’s Secret introduces The Nakeds! The Nakeds – only at Victoria’s Secret.”
Lane Bryant seems to think the issue is simply the model’s size, and that’s entirely possible, knowing the prejudice of the entertainment industry against women who don’t try to minimize themselves in every way. They also talk about cleavage, but this makes no sense to me, as the VS ad features cleavage and close up crotch shots – and that cringey jungle motif that reminds me of the 1982 video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” (thankfully, this ad does not feature a Black-Woman-As-Tiger prancing around on all fours, but I was worried there for a minute).
Another possibility for what rankled the two networks is the clear implication that the Lane Bryant character is leaving her home for a sexual liaison with a man who probably isn’t her husband. She’s going to have sex on her own terms, whereas if you really want to stretch your brain, I suppose you could imagine that the VS models are virgins who just want to get some lingerie-wearing practice in before the big wedding night. But then any child old enough to be watching TV from 9-10pm already knows what semi-naked women prancing around are a code for in this society: some man’s gettin’ some tonight, haha.
Another contrast between the commercials is how happy the LB character seems. She’s smiling confidently, walking confidently – not stomping around with that special Botox glare. She’s going off to have a really good time on her own terms. I can see how that would bother a bunch of old farts at ABC and Fox even more than a beautiful body in a slightly larger size than commercials typically show.