American Eagle made a big announcement this week, they are going real with their new Aerie Real Girls campaign. No more photoshopping for them. All of their Aerie lingerie models, starting now, will come with freckles, dimples, tattoos, birthmarks, and even a stretch mark or two in addition to their doe eyes and sparkling smiles.
It is a miracle: models as they really look in real life. What a concept! Fashionistas rejoice, there is room for us all. Well, they still have to be models, but they no longer have to be super models, or even regular models of lingerie. On their website, Aerie officials say the reason behind this campaign is because they want their target demographic, teens and young women ages 15-21, to feel good about who they are and what they look like inside and out. “The real you is sexy.” That’s a great fit in my mind.
From a purely functional point a view, I’m especially happy about the brand’s new website feature that allows young women to see how their different bras fit on women with various cup sizes. This is huge, if you can excuse the ironic pun. First of all, it is said that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. If we teach women at a young age the importance of bra fitting and properly sized intimates, they are more likely to adopt the practice as a part of their regular shopping routine throughout the rest of their lives. Second, more often than not, women have an inaccurate vision of their own bodies and how clothing, including bras, will fit on them. Being able to toggle through a variety of fits and styles helps to inform their self image and hopefully boost their self confidence.
I am so thankful for this site, not just for my daughters, but for my son too. Lets be real here, boys are looking at these clothing sites too. The models they see in advertising influence their interpretation of what real beauty is. It’s a vicious cycle. Unreal women are used in ads. As a result, men expect such photoshopped perfection in real life. So real women try desperately to emmulate the unreal expectations that the photoshopping inspires. We tell our children that beauty is only skin deep, but it is hard to believe when the skin we see in ads is photoshopped to a level of beauty that isn’t real or natural. Change the models, change the perception.
Now, if I could ask anything of the Aerie site for future development it would be for them to employ the same toggle practice with their underwear that they have done with their bras. Hips and backsides are the body parts most often stressed about and gravely misunderstood by women and men. Sure main stream media celebrates the backsides of movie stars, like JLo and reality TV divas like Kim Kardashian, but it is a very small pedestal they prop them up on. That same media is quick to knock women off of the mantel with the slightest addition of pounds or inches. We need to socialize our young women and our young men to accept, appreciate and even celebrate the various degrees of curves of a real woman’s body. I will try to be patient though. Inch by inch.
So, thank you Aerie, for bringing some reality to real women and men everywhere; tweens, teens and adults. I hope that you have started a trend with your Aerie Real Girls campaign that will last longer than the latest fashion cycle and will be knocked off shamelessly by all of your competitors. That would be real nice.
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