As a feminist and as someone who has a background in Women’s Studies, I’m always conscious of how women and girls are portrayed in the media–in advertisements, on TV, in magazines, etc. Recently I started volunteering with a non-profit in San Francisco called About-Face, which deals with these very issues. Thus, I’m even more conscious lately!
So. This morning I woke up to an email advertisement from American Eagle’s Aerie, their line of lingerie and pajamas for women. Full disclosure: I really love Aerie’s products 🙂 I noticed in the email that Aerie has an Instagram and Twitter hashtag called the #AerieREAL. They’re calling for young women to recognize that “The Real You is Sexy,” and encouraging them to post photos of themselves to be included in the Aerie Style Gallery.
Going along with the call for photos using the hashtag #AerieREAL, they launched a video announcing that the models have not been retouched. You can watch the video here. The video features one of the Aerie models describing her thoughts on not being retouched, which she explains as a sort of scary but at the same time a very positive thing to embrace who you are.
First of all: kudos to Aerie for not retouching and for not using supermodels! As the woman on this Good Morning America clip explains, these models “wouldn’t be lingerie models” otherwise. In a world where women and girls are constantly comparing themselves to the seemingly perfect models in advertisements, this is a great step in the right direction. At least based on the two models in the photo shoot featured in the #AerieREAL video, there is some racial diversity as well.
BUT. Yes, there’s a but. After flipping through the Aerie website and looking at their bra sizing guide (which features models of all different bust sizes), I couldn’t help but notice that the models are all still thin. It is great that Aerie has decided not to have models who are as stick thing as some supermodels can be, BUT the fact that there still isn’t much variety in body size goes to show that we have quite a ways to go.
Just a quick note–I don’t mean to imply that thin is bad–it certainly is not! It’s only bad if it’s used to represent an ideal for which all women should strive, and that we should all feel imperfect if we are not thin.
And just to end on a fun note, I happen to watch an episode of “The Office” yesterday where the always-offensive Michael Scott declared a “Women’s Appreciation Day” for all the women at Dunder Mifflin–enjoy!