In November 2019 the Victoria’s Secret lingerie fashion show was cancelled for the first time since its televised debut in 2001. The pop culture phenomenon, over the years, had received increasing criticism in the media for the hypersexualized nature of its female representation and its lack of diversity. The premiere of the Savage X Fenty fashion show in September 2019, which was celebrated for its inclusivity, further amplified the scrutiny of the Victoria’s Secret show and ultimately led to its annulment. This occurrence, in the age of the digital wave of feminism that emphasizes the unequal and stereotypical representations in the media, draws importance to the topic of audience perceptions of female representation in mediated lingerie fashion shows. This thesis explores how young adult women give meaning to the female representation in the mediated lingerie fashion shows of Victoria’s Secret and Savage X Fenty? It does so by drawing on interviews with young women aged 18-29, living in the Netherlands and Flanders, in which it has been discussed how they perceive the representation of women’s bodies, femininities and sexualities in the two distinct lingerie fashion shows. The findings revealed how the participants took a critical feminist outlook on the female representation as they emphasized the stereotypical or non-stereotypical conceptualization of beauty and femininity that the brands promoted through the female representation, as well as the realistic or unrealistic standards that they set onto women in society. The Savage X Fenty fashion show was, overall, viewed as contemporary, inclusive and feministic due to its embrace of diversity in the female representation, whilst the Victoria’s Secret fashion show was seen as having misaligned morals that aim to mould and pressure women into traditional patriarchal norms. As a result, the interviewees were more inclined to support and buy from the Savage X Fenty brand, than the Victoria’s Secret brand which showed the relevance of feminist consumerism in the lingerie industry and the way in which fashion shows can be effective forms of femvertising.

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Driessen, S.
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Sasse, Sophie. (2020, June 29). The Fashion Show Offs: An interview-study comparing and exploring the female representation in the lingerie fashion shows of Victoria’s Secret and Savage X Fenty. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from