Last week American Eagle dropped their “Aerie Real” campaign. All about confidence and embracing the real you. There are things I love about this concept and things I am skeptical about.
I’m not a big fashion blogger and I don’t tend to follow fashion that much outside what you can buy on the high street and the occasional designer collection (I’m in love with Valentino Pre-Fall 2015). But this has captured my attention. I am all about being real and accepting yourself for who you are and what you look like.
The campaign in itself is a lovely idea all centered round not retouching campaign images and videos. Photoshopping and retouching images has been a high profile issue in the public eye and on social media for a while now. As a feminist it’s a hugely important one for me too. The fact that society has a perceived idea on what beauty should be is despicable. Every single human being on this entire planet is beautiful. This isn’t just a matter concerning body image; its the way we act, the way we speak, the way we think, the things we’re interested in. Before we are even born we are expected to play a role. Think about it how many times have you been ashamed of something about yourself because it isn’t perceived as beautiful, desirable or appropriate? Exactly.
The Aerie Real campaign featured on the American Eagle website shows videos of five girls telling us why they’re Aerie Real. They don’t all focus on image some talk about their personality etc. Its good that the focus isn’t just on physical beauty that they do address other issues. But it’s a fashion campaign at the end of the day you’re never going to get away from physical beauty there. The add consists of four seemingly Caucasian women and one WOC; Jessica Morrow, Jessica Clements, Julie Beekman, Shivani and Barbie Ferreira. Four of the girls are your “model skinny” kind of girls. Which is fine, they’re still women, they’re still real, they’re still beautiful. Naturally though, media attention has cascaded down on size 12 model Barbie Ferreira. Taking a great concept and making it all about the “fat” model. Rational humans can’t see why on earth being a size 12 (or in fact above) makes you any more or less real then any other girl. Last time I checked she wasn’t an android.
Ferreria, though only 19, is my kind of inspirational. Not for being a size 12 model but for speaking out about “plus-size” segregation. She told Ravelin last year:
“I felt as though thick girls don’t always need to be separated or put into our own section. We should be represented with other body types. I felt the term ‘plus size’ was inaccurate and kept all these beautiful, stunning women, with the widest spectrum of body types I’ve ever seen—mind you, curvy agencies start at a size 6 and go up to a size 18—from being seen and resonated with.”
She said : “’I am unapologetically myself, no matter what anyone’s opinion is. Not being retouched in the images is something that is very important to me,” Yes, yes, yes, yes, all the yes! Amen sister!
Aerie Real has made a great step towards acceptance both physically and mentally and we need to see more campaigns like this one and the real women campaigns by Dove. One thing we need to remember though is everyone is a real person. Everyone. No matter what size you wear and no matter how you act or what you’re in to.
Just like Ferreria I am unapologetically me, and so should you be. Be real, be you.