A large population of women celebrated their "Superbowl" last night. If you find it hard to believe that million viewers mistook December for February, check yesterday's Twitter feed.
Last night's "championship" was an unusual one. The padding that players wore was not placed on their shoulders, but rather in their bras. The event did not take place in a stadium, but rather on a runway. The multiple trophies given out were not statues, but rather they were angel's wings. No, this wasn't football, folks. This "Superbowl" was the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
In typical fashion, I am always looking for connections between sports and other areas of culture. Besides the VS Fashion Show being compared to the the Superbowl, I found it fascinating that the fashion show took place in the same week that the NFL held their own big event - the My Cause, My Cleats campaign - in which players worked "...to raise money for causes with custom cleats to be auctioned off by the NFL, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the cause the cleats were designed to support". At least 500 athletes participated in this campaign on the field. Many proudly posted their causes off the field as well.
My Cleats, My Cause was successful in generating a lot of buzz through social media, especially, so while watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and simultaneously watching social media light up, I couldn't help but think a similar campaign by Victoria's Secret - perhaps, "My Bras, My Cause" - could be as successful or even more successful than the NFL's version.
While the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will always be problematic because it features Amazonians, racks up the dollars, can be indigenously ignorant, and isn't exactly family friendly, it will always be an admired event in part because of the way they portray females as a team rather than as competitors. As written in Guest of a Guest,
It was plain to see on social media and on the broadcast of the fashion show itself that the Victoria's Secret Angels are genuinely psyched about each other. They affirmed each other in their pre-show interviews and in their interactions backstage and that empowerment was infectious. To be sure, it was weird to feel a sense of feminist solidarity during a scantily clad six-foot female fest but I'll take it. I hope that in coming fashion shows this feeling grows and can be used for a good cause.
With the kind of squad that the Angels have - the kind that seems to rally around each other authentically - imagine how much success they would have as a team if they each threw the weight of their wings behind a cause, or multiple different causes, and tied that in with the show. How much money or, pardon my cliche, how much awareness they be able to raise if, similar to NFL cleats, their lingerie was decorated for the sake of the charities that touched their heart, not just for the sake of sequins that caught their eye? I hope that in the future we will find out the answer.
Victoria's Secret can learn from the NFL that giving back, aside from being the right thing to do, is a way to attract fans who are otherwise fed-up. Shiny bras are nice, sure, but they lend no "reason to the season" each December if not tied to a specific cause.
Likewise the NFL can learn from Victoria's Secret. As a team, the Victoria's Secret Angels were a force to be reckoned with on the runway. Even as someone who was not previously a fan, I caught their enthusiasm. Perhaps NFL teams could do more good for more charitable causes throughout the season if individual players as well as entire teams were allowed to express themselves and to express what is important to them more often, outside of week 13.
For 2017, there are five organizations that I would love to see repped by My Cause, My Cleats and maybe by even My Cause, My Bras (are you reading this, Victoria's Secret?). I'll leave you with those:
1. Bright Pink:
Lindsay Avner, who underwent a preventative double mastectomy at the age of 23, leads Bright Pink, which is, “…the only national non-profit organization focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women”.
2. Urban Light:
"A movement dedicated to restoring, rebuilding and empowering the lives of young men who are so often forgotten within the dialogue of abuse, exploitation and trafficking".
On November 9 of each year, "World Adoption Day is a day to raise awareness for adoption. World Adoption Day is a day to raise funds to support families in their adoption".
A foundation dedicated to "alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness " through funding scientific research that is, "...leading to discoveries in understanding causes and improving treatments of disorders in children and adults, such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, and bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders".
5. It's On Us:
An organization partnered with notalone.gov committed to helping men and women stomp out sexual assault by learning how "...not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution."