By: Gina Mason
As females, our world is filled with optical illusions, distorted realities and we live in a society that expects us to achieve unattainable beauty. There are models on magazine covers that have been completely airbrushed, apps that change the way we look so we take the perfect selfie and the role models that many girls look up to are no longer women who have actually achieved something because of their education, hard work or talent, but because they have their own “reality” shows.
These unrealistic expectations of beauty have gravely affected the way women view themselves and female self-confidence is at an all-time low. Yet, almost all of these large corporations (whether it is clothing, makeup, media, etc.) continue to fuel this ridiculous standard of beauty as a way to profit off of the insecurities of women. These corporations do not think about the adverse effects or the devastating impact they have on those who do not fit the “size two” body type. However, there is one brand that is working as a pioneer in uncharted territory in hopes to change to our unrealistic body image and change our world.
Last year, American Eagle’s intimate apparel line, Aerie announced that they would no longer Photoshop, retouch or airbrush any of their models as part of their 2014 Aerie “Real” ad campaign. With their target demographic being impressionable 15-21 year-old girls and knowing that unrealistic body image can severely affect the confidence of this group, the brand decided to make a bold move by not airbrushing any of their models (something that no other lingerie company had done before). Although the models are slender, the brand did not cover one of their freckles, tattoos, cellulite or imperfections.
After seeing positive initial feedback, they decided to continue to stand by the “no retouching” policy for the duration of 2014 through 2015 to see what would happen. It was announced last week that not only is the Aerie brand thriving (growth in every quarter of 2015), but their big risk is paying off as the brand’s sales are up 21%. In fact, Aerie’s interim CEO Jay Schottenstein was quoted saying, “I believe [Aerie] can double in size over the next several years.”
Here are a few of their recent ads:
With such growth, it’s a clear indication that Aerie advertising campaigns have had a massive impact on their consumers and really made a connection with them. This campaign has completely reshaped the brand for the better and more importantly, sent a powerful message to all women that “real” is sexy.
It’s great to see brands out there trying to make a difference in the world and empower women. I think this campaign is fantastic and I am so pleased to hear that this brand has had such success. More brands should continue in Aerie’s footsteps and promote positive rhetoric. It is time to embrace all of our imperfections and love ourselves for who we are and not what we look like.
I will leave you with a quote from the one and only Marilyn Monroe – “To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, it’s society who’s ugly.”
Do you feel that more brands should follow Aerie’s “no airbrush” policy? Are you more likely to purchase items from a brand that has taken a stance like this?
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