Let’s Be Real

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.

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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.

New Year’s Resolutions

I started this blog last summer to practice writing informally. I wrote consistently during my study abroad trip to Ireland, but quickly got out of habit once the fall semester began. Today, I resolve to be more consistent. I want to share with you – all three of you (hey Mom!) – what I want to accomplish this year. I believe accountability encourages good practices, so please help me in whatever manner to follow through with my resolutions this year.

1. Maintain a regular blog.
Ideally, I’d like to post once a week. But who am I kidding? I know that things come up: homework, sorority meetings, family lunches, Netflix binging personal time. So realistically, “regular” will mean once a month. But I’m holding myself to it. I will blog at least once a month this year.

2. Journal daily
In high school, I kept a detailed and well-organized journal. I have three books in my drawer full of mundane entries like what I ate for lunch, what “it” ZHS couple broke up, and why I hated chemistry so much. But every once in a while, I would write something really thoughtful and interesting for a 15-year-old. I read them from time to time, and love to see how I’ve grown. I know that years from now I will still treasure those diaries. Somehow I fell out of practice during college, but this year I resolve to bring that habit back. I want my senior year at LSU documented, and I want to write in my journal every day.

3. Floss daily
Because, good hygiene.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Flossing falls under this. I also want to exercise regularly, take my vitamins, drink lots of water, eat when I’m hungry, stop eating when I’m full, and get a good night’s rest. I’m not trying to lose weight, or fit a size smaller dress. I actually am pretty confident in how I look. But, I’m not confident in how I feel about my overall health. I can always treat my body better. Plus, being healthy physically means less stress mentally. I always need less stress.

5. Graduate with honors
I’ve got a good GPA. I just have to maintain it to have that asterisk by my name in December.

6. Come to terms with graduation
I am on track to earn my undergraduate from LSU in December. I’m excited for what’s to come after graduation, but I’m scared to end this chapter of my life. 2014 will be a year of lasts: last football game, last formal dance, last night in the ZTA house. I’m probably going to cry many times this year. But, I resolve to have a positive outlook for what’s to come. I resolve to do my best and live in the moment.

7. Priortize
I like learning new things. I like earning A’s. I like getting started with my career. But ultimately, those things don’t matter. When it comes down to it, the things I love most in this world are my family, boyfriend, friends, sisters and church. This year, I resolve to love these people unconditionally. To support them, to love them, to care for them, to spend time with them, to have fun with them. I resolve to go to church every Sunday to worship God with my family and friends, and then to enjoy fellowship at lunch after. I resolve to make time for my boyfriend in our hectic schedules. I resolve to actually get out and go to dinner, or the movies, or even Reggie’s parties with my sorority sisters. These memories will last a lifetime. I want to make sure I make good ones this year with the people I love the most.

8. Live the ritual
I will serve my chapter during 2014 as the ritual chair. I want to lead by example. I will learn those rituals forward and backward, and I will live them out. Even though it is secret, a stranger should know what ZTA stands for based on my actions and words. I resolve to teach my chapter what the ritual means, and show them how to live it out.

9. Pray every morning
I usually pray right before bed, but this year I want to pray in the morning as well. What better way to begin the day than in conversation with God?

10. Not beat myself up if I break these resolutions
I’m human. I will mess up. I really want to attain all these goals, but I also need to realize that it’s ok if I fall short. I can always try again next year.