By Robert Mann
As I left Monday’s Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon, during which former Gov. Edwin Edwards declared his candidacy for Congress from Louisiana’s 6th congressional district, I could muster only this thought: Governor, have you no shame?
“I haven’t had this much attention since the trial,” the 86-year-old former four-term governor joked from the podium as he began his remarks.
And so began the first congressional campaign announcement in my memory that began with a reference to the candidate’s federal corruption trial.
Bathed in the TV lights and facing more than a dozen cameras, it was clearly a heady day for the ex-governor, ex-con. He clearly enjoyed every moment back under the klieg lights, including the grand entrance, as he and his wife, Trina, pushed through a phalanx of photographers, the former governor…
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Maybe it was when, in the fifth grade, I visited the Evangeline Oak in St. Martinville. Or maybe it was before that, when my parents took us to Natchitoches, and we stood on a balcony overlooking Cane River and watched the moment a switch was flipped and the entire town became awash in elaborate Christmas lights. Or perhaps it happened during the weekends I spent as a kid on the grounds of an old plantation outside of Cheneyville. Or sometime during the trips my mother and I would make down to the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, how the whole place seemed musical to me; even the street signs read like song lyrics. It also could have happened in the seventh grade, when my classmates and I drove down to Cocodrie and spent a weekend exploring the surreal landscape of the marshland. Or the countless times we stopped into a…
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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.
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.
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.
Beside my friends and family, here’s a list of things I’m most looking forward to enjoying again when I’m stateside.
DOLLAH DOLLAH BILLZ! Counting Euros is no fun and too complicated.
Yup. No mustard to be found in Ireland. I’ll never take it for granted again!
7. The Accent.
Oh the Irish lilt is great, but I miss the Southern accent terribly! Howdy y’all.
I never thought making a burger took such talent, but after trying a few here, I’ve come to the realization that Americans are simply better cooks – or maybe Louisianans are better cooks. Yeah, that’s probably it.
5. Hair Straightener.
I haven’t straightened my hair for a month because there’s simply no point for putting in effort. It’s going to rain all day anyways! On the bright side, my hair is healthy again.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE ME A GLASS FULL TO THE BRIM OF ICE. If you ask for ice here, you’ll get TWO ice cubes – and that’s if you’re lucky.
3. A Routine.
I’m a very particular person, and I will be so thankful when I can do my morning and evening routines the way they’re supposed to be, not jumping from hostel to hostel sharing a bathroom with 8 other girls.
2. Air Conditioning.
Yeah, yeah, they don’t really need it here because it’s so cold. But, if it gets just slightly warm outside, that means it’s stifling inside. No AC + no ceiling fans = a sweaty mess of tourists.
And the thing I’ve missed the most about the U.S. of A.?
1. TEX MEX. Yes, that savory, spicy, ooey gooey, cheesy, crunchy wonderful thing that is Mexican food. Give me chips and salsa, give me a burrito, an enchilada, empanada, flauta, chimichanga, anything! I’m sick of potatoes and just want something Mexican!
And here are a few things that I’ll miss about Ireland:
9. Bueno Bars
Okay, so this might be German and not Irish, but we should definitely bring these back to the US!
8. Walking Distance
I love driving, but it sure is nice only having to walk a block to the grocery from your hotel.
7. The Accent
I just said that I missed the Southern accent back home, but I’ll also miss the Irish accent! Won’t miss potatoes, though Niall. Think I’ve had my fair share… for life.
6. Adventure A Day
Something exciting happened every day here!
Delicious cider – enough said!
I know it’s Italian, but IT’S EVERYWHERE IN EUROPE AND AMAZING.
2. Cool Weather
No sweat, no problems.
1. Trad Music
I want to dance and sing and shout and cry all at the same time.
Thanks, Ireland for such great craic! You’ve treated me so kindly, but now is my time to go home.