Yeah, after having two kids, I hesitate to flip through the Victoria's Secret catalog when it arrives. I can't trust what I'm seeing. These images are not an accurate representation of what most women would look like in that bathing suit. They're not even accurately representing what supermodels look like. I can absolutely trust that, even though I'm happy with my size, I would look drastically different in that itsy bitsy bikini. I just figure that's life in the digital age, and head out to the Target swim section.
I've never gotten too riled up about models being airbrushed. All marketing is manipulation—trying to get people to see what you want them to see. Editing photos was just another kind of manipulation as far as I was concerned, but many, many consumers have spoken out about the evils of Photoshop, and one huge clothing line finally listened.
We are saying, loud and clear, that we love the way women's bodies look, cellulite and all.
American Eagle's Aerie, a lingerie line marketed to 15- to 35-year-olds launched AerieReal early last year, and it's bound to shake up the lingerie biz. The women in the images are, gasp, not airbrushed. You can see every freckle, tattoo, and even the occasional cellulite. Obviously, these girls are still gorgeous, and angles and lighting are making a huge difference in the published photos. But when I look at these pictures, I think, "Hey! I'm not doing too bad! She has stretch marks too!"
The AerieReal campaign isn't doing too bad either; in less than a year, sales jumped 9%. That, to me, is the best part of this whole situation. It's great that American Eagle has taken this step real with us, but they wouldn't be doing that if that's not what we wanted. And with our hard earned dollars, we are voting. We are voting that this becomes a trend in our culture. We are saying, loud and clear, that we love the way women's bodies look, cellulite and all. I am so encouraged by this move, especially because I have a little girl. Is it possible, that she will grow up in a culture where an airbrushed body looks unusual to her? Is it possible that the glossy photos that are so normal now will seem ridiculous to her as she is coming of age? I am absolutely thrilled that there is a chance.
The next time I am in need of underwear or a swimsuit, you'd better believe that I will be spending my dollars with Aerie. And if this is an important issue to you as well, I encourage you to do more than just sit there and read about it. Spread the word. Let other women know how important it is to put our money where our morals are. Every purchase you make is a vote for that company. Use your votes wisely.