Have you ever wished you could change something about your appearance after drooling over a sexy advertisement or Cosmo cover? If so, you are not alone. In fact, 80% of women say that the images they see in fashion magazines and television makes them feel insecure, according to Health Research Funding. Thanks to digital retouching programs, such as Photoshop, it is difficult for women to decipher if what they are seeing in glossy print is real, as nearly half of retouched ads neglected to disclaim their edits. If women are having these feelings of insecurity fully clothed, imagine how what happens when switching gears to the lingerie department. Therefore, for Spring 2014, American Eagle lingerie sub-brand aerie is taking back the power and embracing the true female form with their “Get Real” campaign.
Though the current cosmetic craze is contouring, it is hardly a natural look. The process starts out looking like a preschool class finger painted skin-toned-hues on your face, once meticulously blended, this method of applying makeup is acclaimed for making some appear like a completely different person. You won’t find that on the new aerie.com.
It’s hard to argue makeup, however, because a person’s choice to create modern-day-magic with the use of cosmetics is entirely their choice- not to mention a true talent. However, it is disturbing to see the extremes retailers will take to alter a beautiful, real body and create a look that is not only unattainable, but also unhealthy. Target is the most recent offender, having exposed their retouching “hack job” through a lack of attention to detail- and thank goodness they did. Now, when surfing the swimwear section of their site, a shopper will know that inches were whittled off of the models depicted. You won’t find this on the new aerie.com either.
We are all familiar with this practice, mainly because of brave brands who took a stand against following an unethical practice that had become the norm. Dove brand took a stand in 2004 unveiling their “Real Beauty” campaign, employing women of many shapes and colors to replace traditional models in their print and digital advertising. Videos educating the public on the realities of Photoshop went viral, and most people took a step back to come to terms with the false advertising they had been feeding into for decades. This campaign still runs to this day, and now aerie has joined their fight for portraying ~* realness *~.
The heart of aeire’s campaign is to only advertise raw photos of their models, who now come in as many sizes as bras they sell. That’s right, no makeup, no retouching. But we shouldn’t necessarily use the term “model” either, as these girls didn’t come from an agency. They are healthy, smiling, women who look stunningly natural- they even have tattoos. Part of the campaign is to enhance the shopping experience, as consumers can now see what a specific bra style looks like their size.
Aerie’s target demographic, women ages 15-21, also represent the population whose sense of body confidence is most-affected by images in the media. Though a single campaign can’t change our entire society, it is certainly a step in the right direction.