archive: Not as Real as it Gets
Questions to Consider:
- How does Aerie’s campaign portray real women?
- Is this campaign fighting the stigma behind society’s beauty standards or contributing to it?
What We Think:
Last year, American Eagle’s partner brand, aerie, launched the aerie Real campaign, which focuses on promoting healthy body image by using “real girls” in their advertisements. However, the company still hires contracted models for these ads, models that are typically light-skinned and have flat bellies — not so much representing a wide variety of body types.
According to aerie, “real girls” are Emma Roberts, one of the faces of the aerie Real campaign. Emma is gorgeous, but she also ranks up high with the unattainable beauty standard perpetuated by media. She’s thin, she’s blonde, and she has a million watt smile. That’s not to say that thin, blonde girls aren’t real and beautiful — they are! But it makes it pretty hard on the rest of us when they’re all we see in advertising.
Aerie’s premise for the campaign had the right idea, but their problem was choosing girls that portrayed the stigma they were attempting to fight. They opted out of retouching their advertisements, so they hired the girls that they felt they didn’t need to retouch. The “real girls” in these ads represent a small group of the majority real girls that are exposed to these ads.
— Rebecca Pirayou
Where We Saw It:
September 2015. ae.com