Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I Feel Sorry For Victoria Beckham

I was never a Spice Girls or football fan but I've watched brand Beckham grow over the years with keen interest. There aren't a lot of Husband and Wife brands not least because in crazy celebrity land your 'his and her' brand could have a very sticky end. The Beckhams have a strong and growing brand, especially since Victoria has become legitimized in the fashion world and has focused her entire professional attention on design. So why do I feel sorry for this successful and well-heeled woman? Because she is a stark example of how the media and the public can reduce a woman to commentary on her body rather than dialogue about her actions.

Jennifer Hudson wearing a Victoria Beckham dress
I come across Victoria Beckham stuff fairly regularly in the boob world; she has designed some bust friendly pieces (like Jennifer Hudson above) she's been very vocal about female body diversity (she may be thin but she realizes not everyone is!) her lingerie shoots for Armani, and of course stories about breast implants. She's never confirmed it but I think the mid to late 90s pictures show pretty conclusively that she had breast implants, and if she did.... big deal. If she had them taken out.... big deal. We're entitled to our own decisions about our bodies. Whilst writers and commentators alike write thousands of column inches about her body, VB has been doggedly building a diverse life.  

What do any of us we want our daughters to have? A happy home, healthy children, confidence, a sense of purpose and humour, a profession that fulfills them, extraordinary experiences, failures that they learn from, great shoes?! Then why when someone achieves all of these things, and I really think VB has worked hard at her life and brand, do we feel compelled to shoot them down? Is it good old fashioned jealousy or are we taught to believe that women shouldn't try and have too much?

The Evoque interior in the special edition Victoria Beckham Range Rover
Having just worked with Range Rover to design the interior of a special edition Evoque a whole new wave of self-satisfying hurtful jibes have swept the internet: "who does she think she is" "is it big enough for a real person to fit in" "give me a break, she's just a washed up singer". I know Victoria Beckham isn't working her fingers to the bone creating design mock-ups and cup-holders, but she's obviously got a sense of flair and design. The Beckhams have driven Range Rovers for years so it's pretty savvy of Range Rover to create a cross-promotion with such a powerful brand. What's the big problem!? If a giant car company asked me to design a luxury car interior I'd jump at the chance!

In a sea of fame-hungry reality stars who categorize success as getting their drunken Friday night exploits into the newspapers, shouldn't we cultivate more hardworking, self-made, female role models? It seems wherever I turn in the press there's always someone ready to tear a strip of a woman for being too thin, fat, successful, diverse, ambitious and I always wonder what the author does - do they contribute to the world or do they just erode it with cynicism and cruelty?

Of course I'm sure the extensive wealth, beautiful home, thriving business and gorgeous family takes the edge off comments from her critics, but on some level I wonder if Victoria thinks "I'm just trying my hardest, why does that piss off so many people?" I know that fame is synonymous with criticism but do you think that women are criticized more deeply and often by the media (and the public) than their male counterparts? xx


  1. Agreed. I really don't know much about her but the dress looks fabulous on Jennifer Hudson! If she wants to also work on designing the interior of cars, more power to her! :D

  2. Great post. FTR I love Victoria Beckham and think she's a great business woman and role model. The snarking-at-celebrities industry is big business, but by this misogynist habit of reducing famous women to crude judgements of their bodies we're all contributing to keeping girls down. We are all more than the sum of our moving parts - isn't it time to get over it? xx

    1. That's such a good point that Snaking-at-celebrities is big business, I hadn't looked at it that way. There are certainly lots of mechanisms in place (in the media especially) to keep women from being taken too seriously. xx