Women come in all shapes and sizes. There are curvy women, skinny women, busty women, flat-chested women, fit women, and overweight women. All of these women are “real.”
Yes, even those tall, slim, bosom-blessed Victoria’s Secret’s Angels are “real.” They are living, breathing human beings.
But what isn’t real about those sexy supermodels is our perception of them. Their pictures are airbrushed and Photoshopped, and that makes society’s image of what is beautiful “unreal.”
Many women’s brands have begun to tackle this norm through self-empowerment campaigns and commercials, like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and Pantene’s Shine Strong advertisement. Now American Eagle’s lingerie line, Aerie, is joining the team.
The campaign #AerieREAL features women of all sizes (literally every bra cup) without any airbrush edits. Every blemish, freckle and tattoo is plastered on Aerie’s website. It’s a statement directed to its customers: we at Aerie love you for you.
I’ve always loved Aerie, even before this campaign launched today. I’ve shopped there since early high school, and I continue to shop there today. I even got a holiday job two years ago. When I walk into Aerie, I feel calm, pretty and confident. Blondes with pouty lips aren’t staring at me from the walls. Huge breasts aren’t protruding from every corner. I look around Aerie, and I see smiling women like me.
Aerie doesn’t sell sex. Aerie sells pretty.
There’s a bra for every occasion at Aerie. If I want a t-shirt bra, I look to Hannah. If I want a convertible bra, I look to Audrey. And if I even want to feel sexy, I can look to Emma. But no matter the bra, I always feel like me.
Some lingerie stores can’t say the same. They market nothing but sex, lust and passion. I put on a bra that adds two cups sizes, and underwear pasted with the line, “Let’s Play,” and I feel nothing like myself. I feel fake, like I’m putting on a show. In other words, I don’t feel “real.”
Aerie knows its customers. Aerie knows that women are sick of seeing models who are already beautiful, turned into an bustier, sexier, versions of themselves.
I applaud Aerie for this campaign. I hope Aerie continues to leave airbrushing out of their ads, even after #AerieREAL is over. And I hope you, reader, will get “real” and accept yourself for who you are.