What Is Sexy? According to Victoria’s Secret, Being Young, White, and Thin

Two young, thin and white models pose in lingerie and silk robes.
Victoria’s Secret seems to define “sexy” as young, thin and white, according to its 2017 “What Is Sexy?” list. (Photo: Getty Images)

The authority on sexy, Victoria’s Secret, released its 2017 “What Is Sexy” list, and the answer to that question is disturbing. According to our calculations (counting on fingers is all it takes), in Victoria’s Secret’s eyes, sexy is being young, white, thin, and famous — with a tiny sprinkling of diversity, but barely enough to negate criticism.

The results, which apparently were decided by the public, even though the website with the list says, “This is what sexy means to us,” include Mandy Moore for sexiest actress, Lady Gaga for sexiest songstress, Taylor Swift for sexiest entertainer, and Lauren Conrad for sexiest mogul. We probably shouldn’t even use the word “range” because there isn’t much range there. Sure, all those women are sexy, but they are also blindingly young, white, thin, and famous.

Mere ounces of diversity came in somewhat weird ways: Chrissy Teigen for sexiest author … because of her cookbook. We love Teigen something fierce, but what about J.K. Rowling, whose outspokenness might be the sexiest thing out there? Or Zadie Smith, whose books and looks are captivating?

Then there’s Jamie Chung for sexiest festival style … no argument there. And Priyanka Chopra for sexiest red carpet look. Sure, but there’s more than her red carpet look that makes her sexy. How about her killer moves on Quantico? Or those lips? And that hair?! We could go on for days. Thankfully, Desi Perkins made the list for sexiest social beauty star. But that’s pretty much the end of the list for people who aren’t white, sadly.

We’d get it if all the white, thin, famous women also happened to be the sexiest in their categories, but they aren’t. Olivia Munn won for sexiest street style (the picture they used to prove it is of Munn wearing a sweatshirt dress) and Vanessa Hudgens for sexiest risk taker. Is that because Hudgens wore a dream catcher in her hair despite the cultural appropriation? Where’s Keke Palmer? And Yara Shahidi?

Crazily missing from the list are Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence.

The same complaint was made about the 2016 list, which lacked size diversity, but apparently Victoria’s Secret didn’t get the memo. The public was not too thrilled with the results, or the nominees, for that matter.

So if you don’t look like this you aren’t sexy???? This is sexy 2017????? THX VS

Photo published for What is Sexy 2017 - Victoria's Secret

What is Sexy 2017 – Victoria’s Secret

Cast your vote! Vote for your picks for the 2017 What is Sexy list and check back on 4/13 to see who made this year’s list.


And of course, this isn’t the first time the lingerie brand has been criticized for their lack of diversity. Plus size models weren’t happy with the poor representation of average-sized women in the 2017 VS fashion shows.


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