There once was a time when no matter where you looked you would see these beautiful, seemingly perfect images of both female and male models. Their skin looked flawless. Eyes big and bright. Breasts huge and perky no matter what’s holding them up or not (and at least a C cup). Long, smooth legs. Toned stomachs. Pecs and abs that could potentially break your hand if you hit them too hard…
…Well you get the idea. In recent years we’ve started to see more and more businesses embracing the idea of not retouching photographs of their models. One of the most notable ones would be Aerie, American Eagle’s lingerie brand. Back in 2014 the company decided to take a, once radical, stance against retouching the gorgeous women who star in their ad campaigns. Aerie started the #AerieReal and got the conversation going about why we feel the need to hide blemishes, tattoos, piercings, stretch marks, and basically every “flaw” that makes a person uniquely individual and beautiful. Aerie didn’t just stop at simply changing the way women looked in photographs, (by not changing them one bit) but used this idea to completely change the way the brand presented itself in stores and online.
If you hop on over to Aerie’s instagram and scroll through the images portrayed you’ll see a woman covered in glitter and few random tattoos, women laying on the floor laughing, and even women making silly faces just because they can. When you go into Aerie stores, or even just the Aerie section in an American Eagle, you can see women who don’t look too different from you and me sporting comfortable, yet sexy looking bras. You’ll see them laughing with a friend in loungewear. You’ll see cute pairs of undies laying atop tables and even a few sexier pairs here and there. What you won’t see is a single retouched photo. You won’t see photos of women with sultry expressions. You won’t see lingerie that only exists to make a woman appear sexier to her significant other. You will only see what is truly real and beautiful.
Aerie is all about portraying real women. Women who have stretch marks galore because they just so happen to come from a long line of curvy women who tend to have wide hips (That would be me). Even Victoria’s Secret models don’t look exactly like the pictures we commonly see of them. I remember awhile back reading an article about an Instagram photo Chrissy Teigen posted with her legs crossed in front of her. The photo showed off stretch marks on her thighs and bruises from accidentally running into things, but when you see her at VS you won’t see even a glimpse of these characteristics.
So why do companies still insist on photoshopping away beauty like this and why do some people think this is still okay to do?
To think that I, a 21 year old woman, still have to take a step back and wonder what I view as beautiful to this day is preposterous. Why do I do this? I know that I will never look like a Victoria’s Secret model. I know that I may not even look like the women I see on a daily basis, but I also know that that doesn’t matter. I don’t need to strive to look like the photoshopped Barbie Doll Esque women that we typically see modeling clothes. I have flaws but they aren’t really even flaws, they are the marks that make me look beautiful and sexy and confident; I don’t need to shy away from how I look nor do I need to be altered to fit such a rigid, unrealistic ideal of beauty. More companies should adhere to the set of morals that Aerie displays so elegantly. More companies should strive to display the realness of people.
Here are some videos I found interesting and thought provoking while writing this blog:
- What It’s Really Like To Model Victoria’s Secret Swimsuits
- The Try Guys Get Photoshopped With Men’s Ideal Body Types