The Victoria’s Secret Smoking Gun: The New York Times Doesn’t Just Use Unethical Reporting To Push Its Political Agenda…It Does It To Push A Social Agenda As Well

The Times article yesterday was headlined, “Victoria’s Secret and What’s Sexy Now: A rebranding and a new documentary have the lingerie company back in the cultural cross hairs.” The piece emits barely-restrained enthusiasm for VS’s controversial rebranding and implies that the effort, while having to overcome much bias and cultural headwinds, is succeeding….and should. The final words written by NYT fashion maven Vanessa Friedman are these:

[P]erhaps the real takeaway from all of this is that no one person or brand or size or shape gets to say what’s sexy — and that should be seen as a good thing.

That sexy in the end has to do with feeling at ease in your skin, rather than in any single garment. That there are as many definitions of the term as there are people in the world. And that actual empowerment doesn’t come in a bra and panty set. It comes out of it.

Her article begins by saying that when the fantasy female bedroom attire company announced, in a fit of wokeness, that it would “become a champion of female empowerment, replacing its bevy of supermodel angels with the VS Collective, ten women of great accomplishment as well as varying ages and body types — the news was met, generally (and understandably), with raised eyebrows.” Among those virtual eyebrows were those of this blog, which observed at the time in part [Item #3]:

Incompetent corporate management exemplified: Victoria’s Secret. Apparently Victoria’s secret was that she was insane. The company has announced that it is replacing its established image of sexy models wearing lingerie and accoutrements designed to make men go wild in the boudoir, and will now be seeking an audience of woke women, #MeToo warriors, lesbians and the transgendered.

“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Martin Waters, who was appointed chief executive of the brand in February. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.” …. More than $5 billion in annual sales, and 32,000 jobs in a global retail network that includes roughly 1,400 stores are expected to withstand a company that tosses away its identity and announces that it is now the exact opposite of what made it successful, and that instead of appealing to male and female sexual fantasies, it will now seek to please feminist activists.

The world hasn’t changed as much as the CEO thinks it has. [One of the ten women in the “Collective”] Megan Rapinoe, the well-known sex symbol, is already shooting off her mouth, which is what she does, saying that the company has been“ patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired”…  The butch [LGBTQ activist] soccer star added, “As a gay woman, I think a lot about what we think is sexy, and we are afforded the ability to do that, because I don’t have to wear the traditional sexy thing to be sexy and I don’t think the traditional thing is sexy when it comes to my partner or people I’ve dated. I think functionality is probably the sexiest thing we could possibly achieve in life. Sometimes just cool is sexy, too.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if she knows this crazy shift will kill the company, and will be quite satisfied with having a part in that while being paid for the honor.

Being quite certain that the “rebranding” was corporate suicide, and that it is unethical (and stupid) to murder your own company so you can hang out with the cool kids, I added, referring to Mr. Waters,

 If you don’t like the business a company is in, don’t accept the salary for leading that company. This is like a gun company announcing that it will henceforward only sell guns that shoot marshmallows and ping-pong balls.

Gee, I guess I must have been completely wrong! According to the New York Times, the Victoria’s Secret walk on the woke side is smart, noble, and succeeding; at least nothing in the Times report suggests otherwise. Shows what I know, but then I’m patriarchal and sexist.

Here is what the New York Times, the paragon of journalism that tells readers what they need to know, left out of its Victoria Secret update, from Reuters:

Victoria’s Secret & Co said on Tuesday it had cut about 160 management roles, or 5% of its home office staff, and hired a former Amazon executive as part of a reorganization following its separation from L Brands Inc last year…Amy Hauk, who has been heading the company’s PINK brand since 2018, will take on the additional role of chief executive of the Victoria’s Secret division, the company said. The lingerie brand’s Beauty business will be integrated into Hauk’s organization, the company said in an emailed statement….Through Tuesday’s close, Victoria Secret’s shares have tumbled 34% since the start of trading in July 2021. As part of the reorganization, L Brands changed its name to Bath & Body Works.

Short version: “Go woke, go broke.” Victoria’s Secret’s pandering to “equity, inclusion and diversity” is a flop, as it was bound to be.

But the flagship of American journalism doesn’t want it to be a flop, because that isn’t consistent with the paper’s aspirations for the future of American values and culture. So the Times doesn’t just bury the lede, it actively pretends that the bad news doesn’t exist, and informs readers of what the Times editors and staff wish reality would be as if that’s how reality is. The Great Reset must be working!  The revolutionaries must be right!

The Times has descended into pure ideological propaganda and has abandoned its commitment to the mission of journalism completely. I know: that was already clear to anyone objective paying attention, but this smoking gun is irrefutable.

27 thoughts on “The Victoria’s Secret Smoking Gun: The New York Times Doesn’t Just Use Unethical Reporting To Push Its Political Agenda…It Does It To Push A Social Agenda As Well

  1. “This is like a gun company announcing that it will henceforward only sell guns that shoot marshmallows and ping-pong balls.”

    I this a swipe at Freedom Group?

      • Freedom Group was basically an anti-gun group that purchased Remington to callously make money off of ‘ignorant gun people’ by introducing ‘enlightened’ production methods to replace the Neanderthal methods previously in place. As a result, they ran the oldest gun company in America into the ground during the biggest gun buying frenzy of all time. They would have produced a marshmallow-shooting gun, but there was a problem. A marshmallow-shooting gun was beyond their capabilities to engineer or produce. The guns they did design didn’t work. Those they modified, didn’t work or fired without user input. They took control of a company with products people loved and modified those products to be things that consumers didn’t want.

        As with Victoria’s Secret, where they thought they could force the customers to do things THEIR way, they ran a decent company into the ground.

  2. Addendum: As I said in the post last year, I couldn’t care less about the fate of Victoria’s Secret, which I always found absurd and a bout ten floors below Playboy in respect for women. I do care about management and business ethics, and especially about journalism ethics. The Times’ conduct yesterday is flagrant and outrageous even for them.

  3. No offense, but the NYT has been on one side and only one side for decades, gave up any pretense of objectivity in 2016, and this is just the last stage of the slow slide down in to out-and-out partisan hackery.

  4. P.S. Jack, have they published much about the recent mega-success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” which was not woke at all?

  5. Many of Victoria’s Secret models were too skinny anyway.
    Anorexia is not healthy but dress it up and suddenly it is profitable.
    Bottom line is that even anorexia is more profitable than radical woke ideology.
    Perhaps because it has the unconcealable stench of fascism.

    I love the smell of stupid myopic burning wokesters in the morning.
    It smells like ~~~> victory.

  6. The media seems to actively be trying to confuse people, assisted by big tech. People are complaining about inflation? Run a bazillion articles telling people they are wrong, there is no inflation, then have Google steer people to those articles while Twitter and Facebook suppress the sharing of real news. Problem solved! These are not the high prices you are looking for….

    No one likes imagining themselves wearing clothing demoed by the ugly, the odd or the morbidly obese? Just run articles telling everyone that everyone else likes it, then have Google steer people to those articles while Twitter and Facebook suppress the sharing of real news. Problem solved! Peer pressure can solve any issues caused by virtue signaling that bad is good!

    Everyone thinks the President is a senile moron running the country into the ground? Just run a million articles praising his wisdom, virtue and prowess, then have Google steer people to those articles while Twitter and Facebook suppress the sharing of real news. Problem solved! Presto chango, the emperor’s nudity is now clothed!

    What effect will making everyone feel insane have on society? I don’t know, but it sounds unethical to me.

    • No one likes imagining themselves wearing clothing demoed by the ugly, the odd or the morbidly obese? Just run articles telling everyone that everyone else likes it, then have Google steer people to those articles while Twitter and Facebook suppress the sharing of real news. Problem solved! Peer pressure can solve any issues caused by virtue signaling that bad is good!

      At the height of pandemic, I read a headline that said, “Poll: Masks make people more attractive”.

      Why do they resort to lies and make-believe?….

  7. In the 80’s, my father paid $20 for me to ride an elephant. My sister, who was born in 2000, has never seen an elephant. She probably never will. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, there were all kinds of things happening in the background that older-Jeff wouldn’t approve of…. But I’m just saying: I rode an elephant.

    What bothers me most about things like this is the ultimately destructive nature of them. It is hard to build some of these business models. There are new barriers to entry and some of them were built at a time the models made more sense, so there are cases, and physical magazines are almost certainly one, where they probably could not have entered the market had the market when they entered had current conditions.

    Which means that a lot of these things, once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

    Tying this in tangentially, I’m going to rant.

    I’m on the board of a Community Foundation associated with The Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). The CFC recently had a change in leadership after a wave of retirements, and the new leadership is, not to put too fine a point on it, insufferably woke.

    Community foundations operate endowment funds, we take in dollars from our donors, invest them wisely, steward the money, and disburse the proceeds net our expenses into our community. We are non-profits, so we’re tax exempt, and that’s wonderful, but it comes with some requirements: Regardless of how well the market does, we are required by law to disburse at least 3.5% of our funds back into the market on an annual basis. We’ve always done better than that. Our model, which is public, has been about 4.5% going back to the community (it varies a little) with a .75% management fee for overhead (mostly staff). We fund investments to the local hospital, the schools, the golf course, the local theatre, the museum, kids sports, social groups, the Salvation Army…. We have about 50 requests a year and depending on the specific asks and our capacity, about 2/3 of them get at least partially funded.

    This, we are told, is not enough. We are hoarding treasure, we are told. We are underserving our communities, we are told. Regardless of how the donors directed their funds, we should ignore their wishes and find some brown people to give money to, we are told… Perhaps not so directly, but I shot you not, the spirit of that has been said. Last year, the government of Canada bandies the idea about of raising the minimum from 3.5% to 5%, or even 10%. In response, the CFC, who is supposed to represent us, said: “Yes please Mr. Government, please pillage our funds. Please take your short term political aspirations and destroy what community-minded people have spent a lifetime building.”

    I kid, of course, they didn’t say that. What they said was, and I quote:

    “The disbursement quota was created to make sure charities were moving resources to address societal needs. Many conversations around the disbursement quota have been debating percentages. Should it be 3.5%? 5%? 10%?

    These conversations tend to be reductive and risk being a distraction at a moment when the federal government can play a critical role in better enabling philanthropic organizations to meet the needs of their communities now and into the future.”

    Again… We’re free to go above the 3.5%. We do this on a near constant basis. They’re literally asking the Feds to take away our ability to manage our funds because they don’t think we’re doing enough. We pay membership fees to them. To represent us. Meanwhile, they seem addicted to Liberal policy prescriptions, and have a very comfortable relationship with a certain Liberal senator who likes to refer to our funds as “public dollars in private hands”.

    This has created something of a firestorm. No one liked that. And now we’re having discussions about whether we want to continue funding the CFC. The Calgary Community Foundation, holder of a $700 million fund which represented about 10% (I think, estimating with napkin math) of the funds held in Canada pulled out earlier this month, and the CFC is having a Town Hall this morning on the issues. Depending on how much navel gazing or soul searching they do, I expect others to follow suit.

    Cards on the table, we might. The math is that we pay the CFC $X in membership fees, for that X dollars, we are given access to special government throughputs. Throughputs aren’t necessarily in line with the mandate of a community foundation, but if we didn’t get the throughputs, our community wouldn’t either, and we do have a mandate to act towards what’s good for the community, within reason. Those throughputs in the last two years were approximately 50*$X, so it’s a good deal. Against that though… It doesn’t matter if we get 50*$X in 2021 if by 2041 there is no fund. The difference between 3.5% and 5% is whether the endowments grow or stagnate in your average year, and the difference between 5% and 10% is whether the fund stagnates or shrinks in your average year. On a long enough scale, our disbursements will equal 10% of what’s left in a very small fund plus whatever we can fundraise in a given year…. Which will basically make us a throughput, and at that point, if the donors could just pat their $50,000 to the hospital, why pay the middleman? Our management fees would eventually scrape away at what was left, because even if we worked with volunteers, there are finance management fees, and we disappear. Do we want to give people actively campaigning for that the legitimacy of saying they represent us?

    And that grates. Because, again…. The CFC was created at a different time, there are so many more community organizations now, we all have our own priorities, there are massive barriers to entry (the government’s hostility to the model being a part of it), and my impression is that if these fucking wokesters manage to break the CFC in the name of their vaunted, anti-mandated political priorities, they will proudly sit on their throne of ash and one of the better tools in our arsenal will just be gone.

    • Comment of the Day nomination!

      Fascinating work. My dad sits on a scholarship fund, so I am familiar with some of the machinations of a non-profit (at least US based ones), but your post is eye-opening nonetheless. The minimum disbursements seems like a terrifying handicap to plan around.

      • I’m mean… There are some years where the fund shrank because we didn’t see a return of 3.5%, in those years, we try to fundraise a little more and we suck up the difference in endowments. Right now our return for 2022 is -8%…. Which is actually better than market at -18%… If we had to disburse 10% of our funds on top of losing 10% of our funds, then 20% of the fund disappears in a year. These funds have existed for generations. We are the current stewards of a tradition 100 years old! And we are a couple of shitty years coupled with a shitty, short sighted government policy away from them disappearing.

  8. We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.
    I could be wrong, but I thought there were still a fair number of women who wanted to be “what men want”…perhaps even more than the number who aspire to be generally repulsive.
    When will Liz Thomas be in their catalog?

  9. My longtime Usenet ally made this point.

    You have to wonder whom they think their target customer demographic is.

    It’s as if Ms Magazine was bought out by islamists and published nothing but fundamentalist screeds about how Allah created women to serve men and all Western women were whores who deserved to be beaten.

    Is this some kind of financial scam, like in “The Producers”?

    – Christopher Charles Morton, dba Deanimator

    I do wonder if this is some sort of scam.

    • Have you ever watched “Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress?” The main sales guy walks in and meets a bride and always says, “Hello, beautiful!” The brides eat it up. If you want to sell lots of underwear to lots of women, you can’t just sell your underwear to models. They’re models. You need to say to anyone who’s looking to buy underwear, “Hello, beautiful!” Sale made.

      • I might add that Kleinfelds probably numerous wedding gowns on display that cover naked mannequins. It’s their version of a “model”. And I bet those mannequins are shaped an awful lot like the “before” models of Victoria’s Secret. I think it’s fine – maybe even preferred – to display/advertise garments (or undergarments) on the bodies that best sell the product, but as you point out, every woman that walks through the door looking to buy should be treated with equal respect, regardless of shape/size. They should be treated like models.

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