I’m always on the look out for ads or other media that positively portray bodies and present realistic notions of beauty, so I was delighted when I happened upon a new ad campaign by Aerie (the lingerie arm of American Eagle Outfitters) that features all unairbrushed, unPhotoshopped women! The ads also features models with bra sizes across the spectrum instead of the “standard” B-cup model. It’s true, you can see for yourself right on Aerie’s main page http://www.ae.com/aerie/index.jsp.
The company has stated in the past that it targets 15-21 year old, high school and college aged females. Although I am a few years older than the target market, I do find the product very appealing and it’s no surprise that this ad has had some influence! I appreciate seeing a model in the photo that actually does reflect the message. Moreover, I really like how they chose to say “The real you is sexy”, rather than identifying a certain body type as sexy, like the “real women have curves” or “real women are this or that” line. Their message attempts to normalize every body, every woman as beautiful, it feels like an honest approach to encourage you to celebrate, embrace, and love your body.
Overall, Aerie is trying to convey the message that you, along with your pimples, tattoos, birthmarks, scars, etc. are beautiful. I think they want the potential consumer to feel a connection with the women in the ads. They are admitting that women’s bodies are beautiful as is—there is no need to retouch or airbrush out “imperfections” or to alter the natural anatomy of the human body. Finally, I believe that by featuring un-altered images of women with varying body types in lingerie-type clothing creates a notion that any women can and should feel comfortable in their lingerie!
The ads themselves are getting some seriously good praise! Of course, there are some folks who may argue that there is still a lack of representation among certain body types, which I do understand. However, Aerie certainly deserves praise for taking a step in the right direction! This type of advertisement is socially responsible because it embraces realistic bodies and doesn’t attempt to alter natural anatomy to portray unrealistic beauty standards. I would hope that Aerie’s ad inspires and encourages other companies to embrace this practice, as it certainly paints a hopeful future!
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