If you came of age in the late 90s/early 2000s, then you are probably very aware of the extremely toxic body ideals perpetuated by the media and society at the time. If that sounds like you, then you’re going to love that viral “Victoria’s Secret” song that everyone’s talking about.
The video featuring the song, written by singer/songwriter Jax, has over 7 million views on TikTok. In it, Jax is seen leading a flash mob outside a Victoria’s Secret store while the song plays in the background.
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So what makes the song so special? Well, the simple answer is that the store is emblematic of that period of the late 90s and early 2000s, and the marketing and advertising that preyed on girls and women of all ages. While the store itself isn’t solely responsible for the problematic body image projections of this period, it certainly played a huge role in many of us feeling supposed to look at.
Check out some of the lyrics and try not to get chills:
God, I wish someone had told me
When I was younger all bodies weren’t the same
Photoshop, small models on magazine covers
Told me I was overweight, I stopped eating, what a disappointment
I can’t have carbs in the girls hot summer
If I could go back and tell myself
When I was younger I used to say, psst I know Victoria’s secret
And girl, you wouldn’t believe
He’s an old man who lives in Ohio
Make money with girls like me
Take advantage of bodily problems
Selling skin and bones with big boobs
I know Victoria’s secret
She was made up by a dude (guy)
Victoria was made up by a dude (guy)
Victoria was made up by a guy
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I mean…phew. Yes. All that.
The song was inspired by Chelsea, a little girl that Jax babysits. In a video Jax shared last month (which now has over 34 million views), she shares that when the girl got in the car after buying a bathing suit – you guessed it, Victoria’s Secret – she was “crying hysterically” because a friend told her the swimsuit she tried on made her look “too fat and too flat”.
After having that difficult conversation with Chelsea, Jax says she told the girl that she had struggled with eating disorders since she was 12. She decided to write ‘Victoria’s Secret’ for Chelsea to make her feel better, but also to open her eyes to realize the problem is with the store, not her (or anyone else’s) body. ).
“I wrote a song for you, because when I was your age I had a lot of food issues and I wish someone had told me that.”
The song hits hard for so many reasons. For me personally, it hits home because even though I was a thin kid and teenager (I’m not thin anymore), but even still, I felt fat and “bad”. I spent a lot of time hating myself when I should have been enjoying the last chapter of my childhood, mostly because of harmful beauty standards and the ultimate robber of joy: comparison. And I know I was far from alone at the time. I wish I could go back in time and hug Young Me a little and tell her that you can be happy, fulfilled, successful, and loved…in a body of any size.
The last two lines of the song, which Jax sings to a young girl during the flash mob, are perhaps the most powerful – and that’s why this should be the real summer song:
I know Victoria’s secret
She was never made for me and you.