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Shane Lowry gets right back in the Open mix with brilliant 65

Voice Of EU



Far from being hopelessly cast adrift, Shane Lowry steered his own course to remain very much on the fringes of contention in his quest to retain the Claret Jug.

While midway leader Louis Oosthuizen at one point seemed set to race away from the field, those in pursuit will believe that he has not moved beyond their reach: the smooth-swinging Springbok reached the midpoint of this 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in a record low 36-holes total of 11-under-par 129, adding a 65 to his opening 64, to be two shots clear of American Collin Morikawa.

But, on a day when the links was bathed in sunshine and with the wind slipping to a breeze and then barely nothing at all, players took full advantage in a birdie fest that was ably joined by Lowry – one of three Irish players to survive the cut – who, in his defence of the title, shot a second round 65 for 136, to be seven shots behind in tied-17th position.

Pádraig Harrington, too, again displayed his fighting prowess; so, too, Rory McIlroy. Harrington carded a 68 and McIlroy a second successive 70 to each survive on level-par 140. But Darren Clarke, teary eyed as he holed out on the 18th where 10 years ago he savoured the greatest triumph of his career, missed the cut.

For Lowry, so hard on himself after his first round, which led to further work on the range with his coach Neil Manchip and some soul searching, the body language was once more at ease with the challenge in a second round that saw him use the driver only four times and utilise a hotter putter to good effect with an impressive footage of putts to move stubbornly upwards.

A visual sign of his more upbeat mood came on the course, as his fist bumps with caddie Bo Martin were conducted with regularity and accompanying smiles from the two who soldiered together so brilliantly in claiming the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush in 2019.

The Irishman’s defence may have been put on hold for two years but, in the southeastern corner of England, Lowry – encouraged by the galleries and feeding off the exploits of playing partners Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm as much as they fed off him – clicked into a higher gear and with the prospect of again shifting further over the weekend in his bid to play catch-up.

Lowry went out on the cut line and assuredly moved upward in a second round where he played intelligently and strategically. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and found 14 of 18 greens in regulation. He seemed at home in his own skin and the result was a 65 that conceivably could have been even a stroke or two better so good was his game.

Darren Clarke salutes the crowd as he walks up to the 18th green. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Darren Clarke salutes the crowd as he walks up to the 18th green. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

After his first round, Lowry had spent time on the range. In the morning prior to the second round, his “chat” with Manchip was revisited. “I felt I was a bit hard on myself, I didn’t play as bad as I felt I did. So I just trusted myself to go out there and shoot a good score,” he said.

With a grin, he recalled hitting his opening tee shot of the second round about “40 yards right” in one of only four uses of the driver. “I thought I had it fixed,” he quipped, although the primary club of choice for much of the round proved to be his 3-iron on terrain that grew firmer as the day progressed.

Playing in a three-ball with Oosthuizen and US Open champion Rahm, Lowry admitted: “You kind of bounce off each other, it does help whenever one in the group is playing well. And when you’re playing with someone who is leading the tournament it does spur you on to try and catch them. I was out there trying to get as many shots as I could back on Louis towards the end because I knew he was going to be the leader going into the weekend.”

Harrington moved from outside the cut line to inside it, with a fine 68 for 140 that moved him alongside McIlroy in tied-53rd position. “There is a low one in me. But I’d need at least two of them, two big ones,” said Harrington in emphasising that simply making the cut hasn’t enabled him to reach his goal.

McIlroy birdied the 18th for a second straight day for successive 70s and, although 11 shots behind the leader, has focused on his own game. “[I’m] not even [looking] at the leaderboard. I just try to play a good solid round of golf tomorrow . . . you go out and you play golf and you try to play as best you can, and that’s it,” he said.


British and Irish unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateur
Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 64 65

131 Collin Morikawa (USA) 67 64

132 Jordan Spieth (USA) 65 67

133 Dustin Johnson (USA) 68 65, Scottie Scheffler (USA) 67 66, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 66 67

134 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 64, Justin Harding (Rsa) 67 67, Andy Sullivan 67 67, Daniel van Tonder (Rsa) 68 66, Marcel Siem (Ger) 67 67

135 Paul Casey 68 67, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 66 69, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69 66, Jon Rahm (Esp) 71 64, Cameron Tringale (USA) 69 66

136 Corey Conners (Can) 68 68, Tony Finau (USA) 70 66, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 68 68, Brian Harman (USA) 65 71, Shane Lowry 71 65, Cameron Smith (Aus) 69 67, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 68 68, Danny Willett 67 69

137 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 67 70, Daniel Berger (USA) 70 67, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 70 67, Joel Dahmen (USA) 69 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 68 69, Justin Rose 67 70

138 Tommy Fleetwood 67 71, Ian Poulter 72 66, Chez Reavie (USA) 72 66, Webb Simpson (USA) 66 72, Jonathan Thomson 71 67, Johannes Veerman (USA) 70 68, Matt Wallace 70 68, Lee Westwood 71 67, Jack Senior 67 71

139 Max Homa (USA) 70 69, Billy Horschel (USA) 70 69, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 68 71, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 70 69, Chan Kim (USA) 70 69, Kevin Kisner (USA) 70 69, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 69 70, Aaron Rai 70 69, (a) Matthias Schmid (Ger) 74 65, Adam Scott (Aus) 73 66, Kevin Streelman (USA) 70 69, Justin Thomas (USA) 72 67, Lanto Griffin (USA) 69 70

140 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 72, Richard Bland 70 70, Sam Burns (USA) 71 69, Harris English (USA) 75 65, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 69, Pádraig Harrington 72 68, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 66 74, Jason Kokrak (USA) 70 70, Rory McIlroy 70 70, Xander Schauffele (USA) 69 71, Sam Horsfield 70 70

141 Marcus Armitage 69 72, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 71 70, Rickie Fowler (USA) 69 72, Talor Gooch (USA) 69 72, Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn) 72 69, (a) Yuxin Lin (Chn) 69 72, Robert MacIntyre 72 69, Richard Mansell 72 69, J. C. Ritchie (Rsa) 71 70, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 70 71, Poom Saksansin (Tha) 73 68, Brendan Steele (USA) 73 68, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 70

Missed cut

142 Keegan Bradley (USA) 71 71, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 72 70, Tyrrell Hatton 72 70, Russell Henley (USA) 70 72, Takumi Kanaya (Jpn) 70 72, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 72 70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 74 68, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 69 73, Chris Kirk (USA) 68 74, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 75 67, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 69 73, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 74, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 73 69, Ryutaro Nagano (Jpn) 70 72, Ryan Palmer (USA) 72 70, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 71 71, Harold Varner III (USA) 70 72, Jimmy Walker (USA) 70 72

143 Rafael Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 73, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 74 69, Stewart Cink (USA) 66 77, Branden Grace (Rsa) 72 71, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 70 73, Daniel Hillier (Nzl) 72 71, Charley Hoffman (USA) 72 71, Matt Jones (Aus) 72 71, Troy Merritt (USA) 73 70, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 72 71, Patrick Reed (USA) 72 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 72, (a) Laird Shepherd 74 69, Brendon Todd (USA) 72 71, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa) 69 74, Gary Woodland (USA) 73 70, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 74 69

144 John Catlin (USA) 75 69, Ricardo Celia (Col) 72 72, Ernie Els (Rsa) 72 72, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 71 73, Adam Hadwin (Can) 75 69, Richard T. Lee (Can) 75 69, Haotong Li (Chn) 75 69, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 75 69, Keith Mitchell (USA) 68 76, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 73 71

145 Jason Day (Aus) 75 70, Lucas Glover (USA) 75 70, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 71 74, Alexander Noren (Swe) 74 71, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 75 70

146 Darren Clarke 71 75, (a) Cole Hammer (USA) 75 71, Matt Kuchar (USA) 74 72, (a) Joe Long 73 73, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 74, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 74 72

147 Jaco Ahlers (Rsa) 68 79, (a) Sam Bairstow 75 72, (a) Christoffer Bring (Den) 72 75, Romain Langasque (Fra) 74 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 76 71, Chengtsung Pan (Tai) 71 76

148 Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 73 75, Nicholas Poppleton 75 73, Paul Waring 72 76

149 (a) Abel Gallegos (Arg) 73 76, Ben Hutchinson 77 72, Aaron Pike (Aus) 74 75, Marcel Schneider (Ger) 73 76, Adam Long (USA) 72 77

150 Sam Forgan 73 77, Connor Worsdall 77 73

152 Phil Mickelson (USA) 80 72

154 Daniel Croft 76 78

156 Yuki Inamori (Jpn) 75 81

157 Deyen Lawson (Aus) 80 77

Saturday tee-times

9:20 Yuxin Lin (Chn)
9:30 Talor Gooch (USA), Bryson DeChambeau (USA)
9:40 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Richard Mansell
9:50 J C Ritchie (Rsa), Marcus Armitage

10:00 Poom Saksansin (Tha), Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn)
10:10 Antoine Rozner (Fra), Rickie Fowler (USA)
10:20 Brendan Steele (USA), Robert MacIntyre
10:30 Harris English (USA), Sam Burns (USA)
10:40 Jason Kokrak (USA), Abraham Ancer (Mex)
10:50 Sam Horsfield , Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa)

11:05 Rory McIlroy , Richard Bland
11:15 Xander Schauffele (USA), Benjamin Hebert (Fra)
11:25 Pádraig Harrington , Matthew Fitzpatrick
11:35 Kevin Streelman (USA), Lanto Griffin (USA)
11:45 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Viktor Hovland (Nor)
11:55 Chan Kim (USA), Max Homa (USA)

12:05 Justin Thomas (USA), Adam Scott (Aus)
12:15 Kevin Kisner (USA), Billy Horschel (USA)
12:25 Matthias Schmid (Ger), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
12:35 Chez Reavie (USA), Aaron Rai
12:50 Lee Westwood , Jonathan Thomson
13:00 Jack Senior , Ian Poulter

13:10 Webb Simpson (USA), Tommy Fleetwood
13:20 Matt Wallace , Johannes Veerman (USA)
13:30 Sergio Garcia (Esp), Byeong-Hun An (Kor)
13:40 Justin Rose , Joel Dahmen (USA)
13:50 Dean Burmester (Rsa), Daniel Berger (USA)

14:00 Brandt Snedeker (USA), Shane Lowry
14:10 Danny Willett , Brian Harman (USA)
14:20 Cameron Smith (Aus), Corey Conners (Can)
14:35 Ryan Fox (Nzl), Tony Finau (USA)
14:45 Cameron Tringale (USA), Jon Rahm (Esp)
14:55 Brooks Koepka (USA), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

15:05 Justin Harding (Rsa), Paul Casey
15:15 Marcel Siem (Ger), Andy Sullivan
15:25 Daniel van Tonder (Rsa), Emiliano Grillo (Arg)
15:35 Scottie Scheffler (USA), Dustin Johnson (USA)
15:45 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Jordan Spieth (USA)
15:55 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Collin Morikawa (USA)

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Time is running out for Holocaust survivors | Society

Voice Of EU



Shimon Redlich, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor and author of the book Together and Apart in Brzezany, said: “As long as the survivors are alive and can remember, their testimonies must be recorded. Every story is unique.”

Edith Bruck is a 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor. Hungarian-born, she writes in Italian, and is the author of classics such as Who Loves You Like This? In a recent interview, she said: “Our lives do not belong to us. They belong to history.”

The survivors of the Shoah have allowed us to look into the abyss of the incomprehensible. They have brought generations of readers closer to an experience that can be transmitted, but not shared. However, as the years go by, the era of the witnesses is coming to an end. With their passing, something irreplaceable will disappear.

Primo Levi at home, in 1987.
Primo Levi at home, in 1987.Alamy

Boris Pahor passed away last May at the age of 108. A Slovenian born in Trieste, Italy, Pahor was deported as an anti-fascist resistance fighter during World War II. He is the author of one of the most prominent books on the Nazi camps, Necropolis. “My every word [was] driven by the fear of slipping into banality,” he writes.

The fear of banality and the impossibility of transmitting what was suffered has been a constant in Holocaust literature since the publication of the first great literary testimony of the camps, If This Is a Man by Primo Levi.

Another fear that many witnesses have conveyed is the empty space they will leave behind when the last of them disappears… the incommunicable experience they will take with them.

In an interview with EL PAÍS in 2000, the now-deceased Buchenwald survivor, Spanish writer and politician Jorge Semprún, reflected on the disappearance of those who witnessed the Holocaust: “Do you know what is the most important thing that happened in a concentration camp? Do you know the most terrible thing, the only thing that cannot be explained? The smell of burning meat. What do you do with the memory of the smell of burning meat? For those circumstances, there is, precisely, literature. But how do you talk about it? Do you compare? And what about the obscenity of the comparison? Do you say, for example, that it smells like burnt chicken? Or do you try to reconstruct the general circumstances of the memory, going around the smell, round and round, without facing it? I have inside my head, alive, the most important smell of a concentration camp. And I can’t explain it. And that smell is going to go away with me, as it has already gone with others.”

The writer Ida Fink, photographed in 1994.
The writer Ida Fink, photographed in 1994.Ulf Andersen (Getty Images)

“We have been talking about the end of the survivors for almost three decades,” says Alejandro Baer, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. “That concern has spurred memory in the form of the creation of archives of oral and audiovisual history of survivors, documentaries, even virtual reality projects. But whoever has had the opportunity to meet the witnesses knows that nothing will make up for their absence. Because it is not just about the information they provide, but about the nature of the encounter and the transformation it produces: becoming a witness of the witness. If we look for something that approaches that experience, we will not find it in technology, but in testimonial literature.”

If This Is a Man was published in 1947. Levi himself explained that the publisher went bankrupt and that the book remained forgotten for more than a decade: the first printing of 2,500 copies went unnoticed. Society was not yet ready to read about those horrors, not only because the stories about the extermination confront us with the idea that anyone can be a victim, but because they force us to consider that we too could have been executioners. That same year, 75 years ago, The Diary of Anne Frank was published in the Netherlands under the title The secret annex. Its translation was rejected by various American publishers until Judith Jones of Knopf insisted on publishing it. The diary became an international success in the 1950s.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, Auschwitz did not become a household name for most of the population until the late-1970s, when the series Holocaust was released. That five-episode telefilm sparked a heated debate between those who saw it as a product of popular culture that trivialized the Holocaust by turning it into a family melodrama, and those who thought it did more than any eyewitness account to make Germans stand up to their dark past.

“It is an insult to those who survived. What appears on the screen has nothing to do with what happened,” wrote Nobel Peace Prize winner and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, the author of Night. However, a survey published after its broadcast revealed that 70% of German young people between the ages of 14 and 19 said that they had learned more about Nazism from the series than at school.

Photo montage made by Diego Quijano from an image of imprisoned children in Auschwitz on the day of the liberation of the camp, on January 27, 1945.
Photo montage made by Diego Quijano from an image of imprisoned children in Auschwitz on the day of the liberation of the camp, on January 27, 1945.Galerie Bilderwelt (Getty Images)

This debate revealed another dimension to the horror of the camps: Is it legitimate to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has suffered something that cannot be explained? Is it possible to use the Holocaust to write fiction?

John Hersey wrote the first American Holocaust novel, The wall, between the 1940s and 1950s. It took place in the Warsaw ghetto; Hersey had met with survivors and visited the ruins of the Polish capital. However, his biographer, Jeremy Treglown, wrote that Hersey was faced with similar questions about authenticity: “Who owns the narrative? Can a young privileged white Anglo-Saxon from New England put himself in the shoes of the suffering of European Jewry under Nazism?”

Since the success of The boy in the striped pajamas, this debate has only grown. Novels with “Auschwitz” in the title have multiplied. The latest one is titled The dressmakers of Auschwitz. Some, such as The librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe, have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and received critical praise. Others, like The tattooist of Auschwitz, have been scrutinized by experts. The Auschwitz Memorial made a resounding statement about this best-seller by Heather Morris: “Because of the number of factual errors, it cannot be recommended as a valuable work for those who wish to understand the history of the camps.”

The writer Imre Kertesz, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, pictured in 2009.
The writer Imre Kertesz, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, pictured in 2009.CENDAMO LEONARDO (Getty Images)

“This popular literature, which is so successful, simplifies the history and reality that is so difficult for us to understand,” says Yessica San Román, director of the Education and Holocaust department at Madrid’s Centro Sefarad-Israel. “The result is a trivialization of the facts. What should concern us when we read books like these about the Holocaust is that they resort too much to stereotypes, both for the Jews and for the perpetrators. The perpetrators were not all monsters or psychopaths. They were much more normal than we like to admit. The Holocaust was committed by men and women.”

“I haven’t read The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” explains Shimon Redlich. “I don’t like kitsch books about the Holocaust. However, I believe that films like Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah or Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List have had a significant effect on the dissemination and understanding of the Holocaust.” Asked by email about the books he considers essential, the survivor and author cites four: the works of historian and survivor Saul Friedländer, The years of persecution (1933 -1939) and The years of the extermination (1939-1945); An interrupted life, the diaries of Etty Hillesum, who was murdered at Auschwitz; and Anatomy of a genocide: the life and death of a town called Buczacz, by Israeli historian Omer Bartov.

Entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, in the summer of 1944.
Entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, in the summer of 1944.Alamy Stock Photo

Bartov’s book is part of a series of recent essays that are helping to deepen knowledge of the genocide. They mix detective-like investigations with the handling of thousands of documents. In the face of all-encompassing books like Raul Hilberg’s The destruction of the European Jews, a new generation of authors is focusing on smaller-scale stories.

“Most of the witnesses have disappeared and the investigators must become indirect witnesses, with the material they handle,” Dr. Wendy Lower, Director of the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights in Claremont, California, explains by phone. “We work with the material we have access to… [over] the last decades, we have been compiling documents, testimonies…. such massive archives have been amassed and so many testimonies have been recorded that no historian would be able to listen to them all. When there are no more witnesses, there will be a lot of material to work on: archaeology, forensics, documents, recordings…”

Eyewitness testimonies were not always considered such important material. “In the beginning, when researchers strove to establish the history of the Nazi genocide, they did not always welcome the voices of the survivors,” says Dr. Sara R. Horowitz, a professor of literature at York University in Toronto and the author and editor of numerous books on the memory of the Holocaust, including Voicing the void: muteness and memory in Holocaust fiction and Shadows in the city of light. “Historians preferred to rely on documentary evidence and were reluctant to base historical accounts on memory: they saw it as unreliable, fallible, and limited in scope. But relying on documents also has its limitations. In the decades immediately following the war, many survivors expressed frustration that they had not been heard. And the historical record was impoverished by this exclusion.”

Academic and author Ruth Klüger, who died in 2020.
Academic and author Ruth Klüger, who died in 2020.Getty

“More than ever, it will be the power of literature– novels, poems, memoirs– that will preserve and continue to shape the memory of the Holocaust, in the different languages and the memory of each country. Writers like Aharon Appelfeld, Ida Fink, Elie Wiesel, Charlotte Delbo, Jorge Semprún, Sarah Kofman, Imre Kertesz and others,” Horowitz notes.

“Literature is essential,” advocates Marina Sanfilippo, a professor at Spain’s National University of Distance Education. She specializes in female testimonies of the Shoah. “It has never been possible to understand the reason for the Holocaust, as Primo Levi narrated in that famous phrase in which a German guard at Auschwitz blurts out: here there is no why. It is something that only literature can answer.”

Sanfilippo maintains that she has studied the literature written by surviving women “because the canon of the Shoah is above all masculine”– Primo Levi, Paul Celan, Kertesz, Elie Wiesel, Victor Klemperer, Viktor Frankl, and so on. She cites authors and works such as Liana Millu’s Smoke over Birkenau, Ruth Klüger’s Still alive, Charlotte Delbo’s None of us will return, or Daniela Padoan’s Like a frog in winter.

Padoan’s book is a journalistic investigation that collects the testimony of three women – Liliana Segre, Goti Bauer and Giuliana Tedeschi – who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau. “The experience was very different for men and women, because in the camps, people suffered from the body and bodies are different. What did it mean to have your period in the camp? Or to stop having it, or to think that you would never be able to have children? What did it mean to be the subject of medical experiments? The survival strategies were also different,” says Sanfilippo.

The electrified barbed wire that separated men and women in an unmarked Nazi concentration camp.
The electrified barbed wire that separated men and women in an unmarked Nazi concentration camp.Hulton Deutsch (Corbis via Getty Images)

The survivors’ voices are also kept alive through the stories of their relatives. The most famous of these cases remains the comic book Maus, now a classic, in which Art Spiegelman tells the story of his father, an Auschwitz survivor, and at the same time describes the relationship – not always an easy one – between the two. The librarian and author Javier Fernández Aparicio maintained a Holocaust literature reading club in Madrid for eight years with fellow librarian Javier Quevedo Arcos, from which the book The culture of the abyss arose. They assure their readers that no book was as interesting as Maus, perhaps because of its dialogue between the past and the present.

In the house where Primo Levi died in 1987 on a wide avenue in Turin – it will never be known whether he committed suicide or fell down the stairs – no plaque remembers the writer. However, his last name still appears on the intercom, as if he could be called and his voice could emerge from the past to remind us of some of the many lessons contained in his books.

Levi deeply mistrusted charismatic leaders– those who ask us to renounce reason: “Since it is difficult to distinguish true prophets from false, it is as well to regard all prophets with suspicion. It is better to renounce revealed truths, even if they exalt us by their splendor.”

The voices of those survivors that are slowly dying out remain essential to understanding what happened… but also to warn us about what may happen.

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The Rise and Fall of Victoria’s Secret: A dictatorship of perfection and misogyny: a look into Victoria’s Secret’s angels and demons | Society

Voice Of EU



For the lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, once the head of an empire, the past decade has been turbulent. Gone are the golden days when the world stood still to watch the brand’s annual show. Its carefully chosen models, the so-called angels, represented a beauty standard unattainable to most women, and they paraded the runway in glittering wings and minuscule diamond-cut lingerie.

The shows, which lasted for 23 years, were considered the Super Bowl of fashion. They featured performances by pop singers including Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. Until its last edition, held in Paris in 2018, the event represented the fantasy that Victoria’s Secret marketed. It launched the careers of models Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima, Heidi Klum and Alessandra Ambrossio, among others.

The women showed off almost superhuman physiques, sculpted through rigorous training and starved in the days leading up to the parade. But the brand’s image no longer has a place in a #MeToo-era society, now more willing to champion body positive, diversity and inclusivity and to denounce sexual harassment and the hypersexualization of women’s bodies.

From left to right, in the front row, Victoria's Secret models Izabel Goulart, Selita Ebanks, Karolina Kurkova, Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima.
From left to right, in the front row, Victoria’s Secret models Izabel Goulart, Selita Ebanks, Karolina Kurkova, Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima.Jon Kopaloff (Getty)

The new three-part documentary series The Rise and Fall of Victoria’s Secret explores the brand’s shadows. The production, which premiered on June 18 at the Tribeca Film Festival, combines first-hand accounts with deep investigation to reveal the brand’s inner workings. “Truth is not what it seems, as the underworld of fashion, the billionaire class, and Jeffrey Epstein are revealed to all be inextricably intertwined with the fall of this legendary brand,” reads the summary of the miniseries, directed by Peter Berg and Matt Tyrnauer. It will be available to stream on Hulu starting July 14.

A culture of misogyny and the descent to hell

The film promises to uncover the lingerie empire’s links with sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. A 2019 New York Times investigation revealed that in the 1990s, a financial adviser close to Leslie H. Wexner, executive director of the company L Brands—Victoria’s Secret parent company—worked as a model recruiter for the brand in exchange for sexual favors. This adviser would later be found to be Epstein, a millionaire accused of sex trafficking who later commited suicide in jail while awaiting trial. Subsequently, Wexner has repeatedly claimed to feel “ashamed” by his friendly relationship with the pedophile.

But Victoria’s Secret’s fall in popularity came before this scandal. In 2018, the company lost almost 50% of its value. That same year, which marked the last parade, the show reached the lowest audience in its history since its start in 1995: 3.3 million viewers compared to the usual 10 million.

That year, the company’s marketing director, Ed Razek, made clear his opposition to gender diversity in an interview with Vogue. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world,” said the 71-year-old manager, who resigned from his position in 2019.

The rampant misogyny and harassment from company higher-ups was the final straw for the brand. In 2021, the New York Times published an extensive investigation entitled “‘Angels’ in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret,” in which more than 30 executives, employees, contractors and models denounced the company’s practices.

Rebel Angels and a change of direction

The Victoria’s Secret bubble ended up bursting with the resignation of several of its most iconic figures: Adriana Lima hung up her wings in 2018, claiming to be fed up with the dictatorship of perfection and the pressures on her physique. “I will not take of [sic] my clothes again for an empty cause,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

Gisele Bündchen, who signed her contract with the brand at the age of 19, confessed in her autobiography that after years parading in her underwear, she began to feel uncomfortable. She wrote that she felt “less and less relaxed” when photographed on the catwalk in just a bikini or a thong. In the same book, she wrote of suffering from panic attacks and suicidal thoughts during one of the most successful periods of her career.

Victoria’s Secret changed directions in 2020, when L Brands sold the company to the Sycamore Partners fund for just over $1 billion (€953 million), in a last-ditch effort to save the brand.

After Raezk resigned, in a last attempt to save its reputation, the company hired the transgender model Valentina Sampaio. It also included Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model with vitiligo, as an angel, and Lorena Durán became the brand’s first plus-size model.

Seeking to adapt to changing social norms, in 2021, the company announced partnerships with influential figures in culture and sports: American soccer player Megan Rapinoe, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, Chinese skier Eileen Gu and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser. It also announced that it would no longer refer to its models as “angels.” With that once-unthinkable gesture, Victoria’s Secret finally returned to earth.

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Sex education: The creator of CLIMAX: ‘Good sex is like cooking, but there aren’t recipes for female pleasure on the internet’ | Society

Voice Of EU



Our ways of watching television have changed. No longer do we sit down to see what’s on TV, instead subscribing to platforms where we can watch our favorite content. But can that formula translate to content beside series, documentaries and movies? Can it be used to change the way we experience sex education? CLIMAX, a platform of sex education videos, is trying it out.

The platform started as an explicit educational series dedicated to female pleasure. Far from pornography, it was particularly directed towards women and sought to give advice and ideas for greater self-knowledge and sexual enjoyment. But that was just the beginning. As Camille Mariau, CLIMAX’s director of projects, explains, they are currently working on “a monthly membership platform dedicated to sexual wellbeing. The users will ahve access to periodic new content, ordered by topic (pleasrue for people with vulvas, for those with penises, tantric sex, oral sex, post-partum sex, etc.). We really want to create the perfect guide to help our users deconstruct their ideas about sexuality.” Currently, the platform has partnerships with educational and healthcare institutions, in order to bring education about female sexuality to all parts of society.

Laurène Dorléac is an expert in the technology market and co-creator of CLIMAX. “Not only is female pleasure little understood, but I also realized that taboos around the subject are still very present.” That’s why, despite her lack of experience in the area, she decided to venture into the topic. “Good sex is like cooking: it’s a creative process that requires practice, experimentation and care to have a good flavor. There are plenty of recipes and cooking classes, but we can’t find anything satisfactory about female pleasure on the Internet! That’s what led me to create the platform, so that we can all have access to better sexual education.”

The project brought together international studies, advice from psychologists and sexologists and over 100,000 testimonies. “Pleasure is a very serious thing, and it deserves a very rigorous approach,” she says.

CLIMAX comes to Spain

While the project was founded in France, currently, 40 percent of its subscribers are outside of the country, largely in the United States and United Kingdom. The team is optimistic about the Spanish market. “The market seems to be ready for a project like this. More than talking about pleasure, we really want people to have easy access to safe information about sexual education,” says Camille Mariau. Since the project launched in Spain just a few months ago, most of its users are between 28 and 45 years old, and, surprisingly, they are divided 50/50 between men and women.

To spread the news about the project, they have the help of Teresa Riott, known for her role as Nerea in the Netflix series Valeria, who narrates the videos. “It seems to me like a new idea in education, and it’s very necessary in order to better understand all the possibilities of our pleasure. CLIMAX has also had success in other countries. I’ve learned a lot about female sexuality in the process,” the actress explains.

She emphasizes that “they are videos that you can watch alone, in private, and you can experiment,” which “gives people confidence to explore their bodies without concerns.”

The platform’s content is explicit, but tasteful; obvious, but well-presented. It repeats explanations we have read in plenty of books, but which acquire a new dimension when we can see them on a screen: without drawings, diagrams or taboos, simply showing how to stimulate a vulva. The videos are meant to educate, not to excite, and they have no resemblance to porn. The images are accompanied by Riott’s voice, which explains each step in a clear and simple way, adding touches of scientific information. It explains not only how to stimulate the vulva, but also how and why the stimulation works.

We’ve learned that it’s much easier to exercise at home, or even to do home improvement projects, with the help of a Youtube tutorial video that shows us each step. So it makes all the sense in the world that we can use tutorials to learn how to excite our bodies, moving step-by-step over each part of our anatomy.

The platform is also notable for its diversity, not only in the appearances of the vulvas on screen, but also in the techniques proposed. It includes videos of 19 different masturbation techniques. In Spain, female masturbation has experienced a revolution in recent years. The brand Lelo, specialized in clitoral suction toys, increased its sales by 440% in 2019. The Satisfyer toy was even more popular: it registered an increase in sales of 1,300% in 2020, to the point that it had to resort to European countries to restock the toys during one of the busiest months of the year. Those toys finally normalized female masturbation. Vibrators themselves have also experienced their own revolution. Their technology and shapes have become more sophisticated, and they have become more effective and discreet. And Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop now features Viva la Vulva, an “extra-silent” vibrator model that can be used at any time without making any noise. Such devices are proof that manufacturers have taken pains to innovate their products for female pleasure, until recently a forgotten sector. Gone are the old dildos and penis replicas.

Beyond masturbation, with or without the help of toys, the content of CLIMAX “is like an encyclopedia of ideas that you can choose and use to enrich your sexual life. It can help you be more creative, learn moves that women with vulvas might like, etc. It can also be used as a basis to start a conversation with your partner about what you like, what you want to try or not. We want to give people the opportunity to get to know their own body or the body of their partner better,” explains Mariau.

To that end, the first two seasons are entirely scientifically based. To develop the content, 74 international scientific studies, widely referenced and accepted by the scientific community, were consulted. “There is one study that I find special: Shere Hite’s ‘The New Hite Report,’ a bestseller that has sold tens of millions of copies, which describes how women feel during different sexual activities and when they orgasm with greater frequency,” Mariau says.

In addition to a surge in vibrator sales, women have been consuming more porn than ever in recent years. According to a study by Pornhub on porn consumption in the pandemic, women increased the amount of porn they consumed by 17.5%. Audio porn, one of the latest developments in the industry, is particularly popular among women. And websites for pornographic content aimed at women, taking into account the tastes and aesthetics that female arousal requires, have proliferated in recent years.

Mission: equality in pleasure

The work of Shere Hite is one of the great sources of inspiration for CLIMAX. The late writer and sexologist was especially interested in the female orgasm. She interviewed some 3,500 American women, from prostitutes to former nuns, to create ‘The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality’ in 1976. Among her conclusions stood out two ideas: first, that few women reached orgasm through intercourse (only 30%), although they did through masturbation. Secondly, the clitoris was the key to climax.

CLIMAX is organized into several themes, which are available in different subscription packs: external pleasure (10 episodes), internal pleasure (11 episodes) and tantra exercises (7 episodes).

“Our mission is to equalize pleasure in a world where women report being less satisfied than men in their sexual activities, feeling less pleasure and having fewer orgasms. Education will make it possible,” the expert concludes.

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