Recently I was in the mall with a close friend of mine shopping in Aerie, a store that is a subset of American Eagle Outfitters. While waiting in line we noticed a huge photo print on the wall of a girl sporting some of their aimed at young adults lingerie. The photo said "This girl is not photoshopped". Prior to entering the store we noticed some girls walking around with bags that said a similar message, "the girl with this bag is not photoshopped". After some banter in line with my friend about the irony of the un-photoshopped model with a perfect six pack that made the cashier visibly uneasy, we left the store, and I carried a bag of my own that said "the girl with this bag is not photoshopped".
This new campaign by "Aerie" has gotten a lot of press lately. For those unfamiliar with it, the clothing company (which sells mainly lingerie for teens) launched a campaign entitled "The real you is sexy". As mentioned, they put it on their bags and it's the tagline for a whole new section on their website where they have supposedly "normal" girls who have not been photoshopped wearing their apparel.
The idea is that you should love the skin you're in (especially when you're wearing and buying Aerie products). The irony, of course, is that while the girls in the above photo might not be photoshopped, all three of them also have flat, washboard-esque stomachs and size four max thighs. While the campaign that everyone is sexy in their own way is great, it would've been enhanced by models who actually looked like normal people. How am I supposed to believe the real me is sexy when the people I have to compare myself to look fantastic even without photoshop?
If you're going to launch a beauty campaign based on looking great as yourself, shouldn't you have girls wear your clothes that don't make teenage girls feel like their "real you" isn't good enough? There is nothing wrong with being in shape, kudos to those models for being so fit, but it seems like for a campaign focused on being able to love the skin you're in, there should be a bit of variation in the types of models you're using. I think the campaign is actually a great idea, I just think that if I'm supposed to buy into the idea that the real me is sexy, it'd be great to see someone sporting the slogan who doesn't fit society's pre-established idea of sexy. Everyone is sexy, you shouldn't compare yourself to models, but teenage girls are prone to comparison and it would be nice to give them someone that defy's society's idea of beauty saying "the real you is sexy".