Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret is the latest to cater to “woke” social justice groups; the brand featured a transgender model in its displays and shows this month. In addition to the usual lineup of models, the flagship stores in London and New York City featured a biological male model.
Dressed in the brand’s trademark skimpy lingerie, May Simón Lifschitz, who was born a male, but now identifies as female, is prominently featured in the latest campaign. Lifschtz began hormone treatment at the age of 16. Now 24, he wants to “move through spaces and be acknowledged as a feminine creature, acknowledged for the psyche that comes with being on that side on the spectrum.”
Victoria’s Secret is pairing with Bluebella, to create a #LoveYourselfCampaign designed to celebrate female empowerment. The images and ad campaign are designed to promote both the campaign and the Winter 2019 line from Victoria’s Secret.
The inclusion of a male, transgender model comes after CMO Ed Razek of Victoria’s Secret was called out for his thoughts on including a transgender model in the brand’s campaigns. Razek was publicly berated for his comments, and the brand hired its first trans model just a few months later.
His statements that brought him to the attention of the progressive media were made during a magazine interview about the brands annual fashion shows and popular catalogs.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” Razek said in an interview with Vogue. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
This remark drew attention and outrage towards the brand, and damage control swiftly followed – Victoria’s Secret began seeking out male transgender models to appease the outraged crowds. Unlike some who have made politically incorrect remarks, Razek did not lose his job. Instead, he was forced to apologize publicly and admit he was “insensitive”.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” Razek said. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings … And like many others, they didn’t make it … But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
Valentina Sampaio was the first male model hired by Victoria Secret. He was also the first transgender model to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine. Lifschitz, featured in the new campaign said:
“I will never be 100 percent happy with my body, like any other woman,” Lifschitz added. “But I choose to remind myself that I don’t need to ‘fix’ myself constantly in order to reach that sense of love towards myself.