“Before you love what you see on the outside, you have to love who you are on the inside.”
Such is the current campaign advertisement for the lingerie company, Aerie, and its #AerieREAL campaign, specifically geared toward body positivity and helping teenagers and young women accept their flaws and love themselves.
Launched in 2014, the #AerieREAL campaign focuses on making it easier for women to see their own natural beauty by promoting Aerie’s products with untouched models. Absolutely no Photoshop is used in Aerie’s efforts to keep their models as natural and as real as possible.
According to Erifili Draklellis, a junior majoring in Earth science and policy and one of Penn State’s Aerie Ambassadors, the beginning of the campaign was “actually pretty random. They were just having a normal photoshoot and one of the photographers asked, ‘What if I just don’t photoshop these girls? They’re beautiful anyway.’ American Eagle Outfitters was extremely receptive to the request, and when they noticed the way girls felt shopping at Aerie, they took the pledge to never photoshop!”
Annabelle Schmitt, a junior majoring in advertising and Chinese and another one of Penn State’s Aerie Ambassadors, says “[the start of the campaign] was brought on because of all the negativity surrounding the use of Photoshop on models. So originally, Aerie just stopped using Photoshop but it grew into much more and resulted in what is now the #AerieREAL campaign.”
This campaign is extremely important in today’s day and age, where women are expected to conform to unrealistic expectations that have been placed upon them by the media and their peers. Most fashion companies still currently use Photoshop and use models who are beautiful but who play into the unrealistic expectations set on women because they often don’t look like the average, every day woman.
Aerie’s approach is almost revolutionary, seeing that clothing brands rarely want to embrace the ‘flaws’ of their models and their customers, whereas Aerie encourages the embracement, acceptance and promotion of these flaws. Essentially, Aerie wants women to be able to proudly show off everything about their bodies and personalities without feeling uncomfortable, insecure or embarrassed, because there’s no reason to feel that way.
Emily Chertow, a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and another Aerie Ambassador for Penn State, completely agrees. She says, “Today we live in a world where it’s so easy to get caught up in the culture and society of things that we sometimes lose touch with who we are or become insecure in our skin. But the reality is that we are all so magnificent no matter what shape, size or color we are. Our imperfections are what make up who we are and they are what make us beautiful.”