Approximately 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, according to DoSomething.org. Although only 5 percent of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed as ideal by American media, women often resort to dieting with the hope of meeting the standard set by such media effect. In response to the phenomenon of distorted self-perceptions, Aerie, American Eagle’s sister store, is trying to make sure that models whom women see everywhere look more like you and me. #AerieReal is the newest — and arguably the most empowering — campaign Aerie has put forward. By withholding from using Photoshop to retouch models in their ads, Aerie supports models in their most natural form.
“No retouching. Body positivity. Girl power.” The #AerieReal campaign tagline empowers young women to feel proud of their various shapes and of every detail of their bodies. It encourages young women to stay true and confident despite the impossible ideal type portrayed in the media. The campaign puts forth the salient message that every woman should learn to embrace what the media portrays their “imperfections,” rather than working hard to fix them. It dismisses the idea of looking the “right” way to encourage women who feel pressured to be someone they’re not. Nobody’s perfect, as Hannah Montana once explained to us; hopefully, this powerful campaign will continue to support women as they break through the clutter and find their voice.
Their most recent campaign features, among others, singer-songwriter Rachel Platten, actress Yara Shahidi (most known for her role in Blackish), Olympic gold medalist gymnast Aly Raisman and body positivity activist Iskra. Aerie picked these women “for their influential voices, unique stories, and self-made success.” Surely, it’s empowering to see these four fresh faces putting themselves — and their bodies — out there for all young women to look up to. Each of these new role models gets to design exclusive items that will launch later this March, and all the proceeds they make will go to a charity of their choice.
Aerie’s campaign — and the message it articulates — is not just a great marketing strategy; it’s a revolution that excites the future of body positivity. The more young women see realistic body images in everyday lives (especially on social media), the better they’ll feel about themselves. Hopefully, this campaign can put an end to the heartbreaking, ongoing issue of body shaming to which young, impressionable teenage women are being subjected. We should all be grateful for the four women who put their pride aside to show what a real, unedited woman looks like; they radiate beauty that comes from loving themselves just the way they are. The mission? To make sure young women aren’t reduced to yet another number; to make sure they live a youthful, confident lifestyle.