In response to a Victoria’s Secret advertisement that seemed to declare what a “perfect body” is many reacted strongly calling the campaign irresponsible and harmful. Three students in the U.K. even started a Change.org petition that, to date, has received more than 15,000 signatures and started a hashtag movement with #iamperfect to promote a different, healthier outlook on body image.
To counter the negative message being sent by Victoria’s Secret, Dear Kate, a New York City-based retailer, created a more positive parody of the image. Calling on artists, entrepreneurs, business women, and more “real women,” the underwear company created a photo that is the antithesis of the “Perfect Body” ad. “Through this photo, we showcase women who are often neglected by the media and traditional retailers,” a blog post on the company’s website says. “We show the multitude of shapes perfect bodies can take.”
Julie Sygiel, the founder and CEO of Dear Kate, tells Yahoo Style that when the employees of the company say the ‘Perfect Body’ ad they were collectively “shocked” that anyone would put something out there that says what the ideal figure is. “I feel like this is very irresponsible and a very damaging message to s. nd and so I wanted to stand up and give another version of what that picture could look like and we wanted to represent as many different shapes as possible,” she says.
Dear Kate says their message and products are the complete opposite of Victoria’s Secret. All of their underwear is made with a patent-pending fabric and protects like a pantie liner. Calling the lingerie the “ultimate underwear for women,” Sygiel says that its “so much more than a pretty pair of underwear.”
Sending out a mass email to her entire address book, hundreds of people responded to Sygiel and the company chose a diverse group of women in different heights, weights, and skin color. The response to the photo has been powerful. Kate Upton and Shonda Rhimes both posted the image to their social media channels and Sygiel has received personal emails from people who have been moved. One commenter said they started crying when they laid eyes on the image and another “I’ve felt so much pressure and hatred towards my body and I saw this and realized that I am beautiful the way I am.”