With messaging born out of the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty, American Eagle’s Aerie lingerie brand has launched a new Aerie Real campaign using models who have no airbrushing or Photoshopping to render them ‘flawless’.
By now any devoted AOC reader knows that I detest the word ‘flawless’ as it’s applied to women in ‘buy me products; I will make you ‘flawless’. I detest the word equally when used by fashion bloggers. #aeriereal celebrates real women with real individual physical traits that make us unique, not flawed. As Dove did in 2008, Aerie promotes the message that young women should embrace their own beauty, rather than striving for the impossible-to-achieve ideal promoted by the fashion industry.
Aerie’s message ‘Time to get real’ resonates with me. Make no mistake. I have absolutely nothing against models, just what they have become in today’s supersized world. Research reveals that in the 1990’s — when I was the fashion director of Victoria’s Secret — 25% of American women could achieve the size 4-6 bodies of the great supermodels if they ate healthy and worked out regularly. Today, it’s estimated that only about 8 percent of women can achieve a model’s body, no matter how hard they try.
Personally, I don’t believe any of us should spend our time trying to be someone else. But to define beauty and desirable body type so narrowly as today’s fashion industry does, frankly infuriate me.
As to what’s sexy, one of the Aerie models says: “What’s really sexy to me, I think, is imperfections and embracing your imperfections. “
Adweek’s Emma Bazilian told Good Morning America, which premiered the campaign this week, that American Eagle is setting themselves apart from other brands that retouch their photos to perfection. “The difference between the Aerie real campaign and, for instance, a Victoria’s Secret campaign is that Victoria’s Secret … they completely airbrush out every single blemish or stretch mark.”
Bazilian adds: “Hopefully, this is a new age in advertising for female empowerment.”
Having written since 2007 about the fashion industry’s takedown of strong, empowered 1990s women, I say “Amen”! ~ Anne