Target's new swimwear campaign is about as real as it gets, and we (females) could not be happier. This year's display features ordinary women embracing their bodies exactly as they are—untouched by digital imaging. (This is big news for those of us still struggling to get back into our skinny jeans after giving birth 10 years ago.)
Step aside, Gisele Bündchen, you've been replaced by body activist Denise Bidot and a few other unlikely modeling candidates.
Opting out of Photoshop is something new to the world of advertising, particularly when it comes to bikini-slaying non-models, but Target is committed to doing whatever it takes to empower women and help them feel more confident in whatever they choose to wear.
"We loved working with these women because they embody confidence and inspire women to embrace and be proud of who they are, regardless of their size or shape." a spokeswoman for company, Jessica Carlson, told Refinery 29. "It was important to us to use photography that represented their true beauty, without filters."
Finally, someone in marketing has stepped up to loosen the vanity belt on females in America. Bravo, Target, for taking a retail risk and stroking the egos of every woman we know. It's about damn time.
So, what does this really mean for women? It means exactly what we have known for years: that marketing is a lie and that we should never compare ourselves with an airbrushed version of what they identify as beautiful on order to hit a monthly sales goal.
We are perfect, as is, and shouldn't have to hide behind a filtered lens to feel good about ourselves. It is completely normal to have cellulite and stretch marks. Hell, even Kate Moss got caught once for sporting dimples on the runway and she's known for having a pucker-free, heroine chic figure.
As for the big retail chain, this isn't their first attempt at boosting women's self-esteem. Last year, they brought in style bloggers of all shapes and sizes and photographed them on the beach wearing swimsuits for their Target Loves EVERY Body campaign. Once again, the images were not digitally altered.
It is a thing of beauty when we can be who we are without guilt. As women, we tend to stress over every tiny flaw on our bodies. We were born into a culture of perfection by way of glossy print, and every year it seems to get a little bit worse—until now.
Though it may not seem like a big deal that a company would incorporate a positive message of body image into a retail ad, it certainly is. For decades, women have been placed on a faux pedestal and expected to remain there—flawless, hushed, unaffected by time and circumstance. And for those of us doing it, those are skinny shoes to fill. But what would happen if everyone were to stop retouching images of women altogether? If every magazine opted to do away with filtered lenses for good?
It sounds a lot like absolute perfection. If our kids are lucky, the apps will be next.