â€śThere is no reason to retouch beauty. We think THE REAL YOU IS SEXY.â€ť
So reads the closing line of aerieâ€™s recent letter to young woman, accompanying a campaign advertising its Spring 2014 collection. The lingerie company, affiliated with American Eagle, is giving their target demographic of girls (aged 15-21) an ad campaign free of retouching. Can I get a hallelujah?! Titled #aerieReal, the campaign attempts to deal with the beauty industryâ€™s unrealistic body standards. The declaration? â€śWe think itâ€™s time for a change.â€ť
The campaign features photographs of grinning models in their signature colorful skivvies, proudly displaying their photoshop-free bodies. Avoiding (somewhat successfully) the conventional bedroom eyes and airbrushed flesh, the girls appear as individuals to which young girls can more easily relate; personalities subtly shine through, waists are no longer slimmed, and tattoos are no longer concealed. The most powerful part of the campaign is perhaps the companyâ€™s open letter to â€śaerie girls,â€ť in which they encourage teens to celebrate their emergence into womanhood, reminding us that our bodies (and lingerie) are beautiful because of our diversity and ability to express ourselves.
While #aerieReal is a step in the right direction, letâ€™s hope that aerie and other companies also include images of minority women and women of more diverse body shapes. The models in the photos are still well within the conventional standards of beauty; the way in which they are represented also lends itself to the sort of objectification and hyper-sexualization of the female body that we're used to seeing in lingerie ads.
At its most literal, the company name aerie is suggestive of a nest on which American Eagles can nurture their young, a place perhaps where we might try on our first bra. The inclusion of more diverse women sans airbrushing is a step towards making that metaphorical safe place a necessary reality. Hopefully, there will be more steps to follow.
Thanks to Huffington Post
Images via Huffington Post
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.