It was a clumsy endeavor—silly at best and a parody of empowerment at worst. What it did show, though, was that someone at SI recognized that pouty, sex-kitten depictions born of the ’50s, when the magazine launched, might not be so palatable any more. The move towards diversity that Aden represents seems to have had the intended effect, with mainstream media applauding SI’s “history-making” decision.

SI’s fumbling experiments with wokeness are a reminder of another historically racy brand that has stubbornly clung to its own sexed-up marketing.

Indeed, Victoria’s Secret has paid the price for doubling down on this commercial portrayal of women: The lingerie retailer has been in free fall since 2015, dragging shares in parent L Brands down 72% over three years. Moody’s has downgraded L Brands’ outlook from “stable” to “negative.”

Maybe VS should take note.

In the face of financial disaster, it has chosen to eschew body-positive and inclusive lingerie offerings and noisily defend its aspirational bombshell pitch—a decision that has its business in tatters.

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