By Alex Ouyang
Earlier this year, Aerie, American Eagle’s sister store for intimates and apparel, launched a campaign titled #aerieREAL displaying ads featuring closeup photos of models without retouching them.
When the campaign was launched, it caused a huge firestorm across the internet. Many hailed the campaign as a step forward, promoting body confidence in young women. Many also criticized Aerie for not doing enough — that the models in the campaign were still beautiful and generally uniform in body type. The Aerie camp defends itself that it is rare in the world of fashion where models are often airbrushed to the point of unattainable perfection. Their take is a focus on their customers: 15 to 21-year-old young women — a demographic known to have fragile confidence, especially with regards to physical appearance.
Aerie’s statement “The real you is sexy” is reassuring and a much need confidence booster for many. But it’s necessary to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t always rely on corporations to tell us what to think or how to feel about ourselves. After all, beauty isn’t exclusive to our faces and bodies. There is beauty in intelligence, confidence, kindness, sensibility, and wit. And though it would seem that a great deal of society values the former, the only qualities that have consistently withstood the test of time are the latter. As the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
What is your take? Do you agree with the Aerie campaign or not? Would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s discuss below!