Have you seen American Eagle Outfitter's new aerie campaign? The brand's lingerie collection has launched its own "real women" movement à la Dove by featuring models without airbrushing away blemishes, stretch marks, tattoos, folds or other "imperfections. Granted, the young women they chose are still gorgeous, but at least the the company is featuring them just as they are without making them look even more unrealistic like the lingerie models we're used to seeing.
While I get that lingerie companies like Victoria's Secret and Agent Provocateur aren't just selling a product, but also an ideal sex image to go with it, when a company's target audience are teens still learning to love the skin they're in, it's important to show them the difference between what's natural and what's manufactured in ad campaigns. How powerful would it be if they could see the before and after images side by side? Even better: if society just moved past this need for perfection and the unrealistic expectations placed on women and their bodies altogether.
A few nights ago I stumbled upon Hungarian musician Boggie's music video for her latest song "Parfüm." You might not understand a word and she just sits in place through the entire piece, but watch as her video editor retouches her skin, eyes, and hair and gradually transforms the singer from what she normally looks like into a "picture perfect" star. It's crazy how retouching can make any imperfections disappear, leaving our young to believe that this is how some people wake up in the morning. And not just young women, but adults, too. According to a study conducted by cereal brand Special K for its Fight Fat Talk campaign, 93 percent of women participate in fat shaming and making negative remarks about their own bodies. Some do it because "they feel it's better to criticize themselves before others do so" while others admitted to engaging in fat talk when their friends do and not bothering to change the conversation when the shaming goes on.
So you have to think: when and how did we learn this? Why do we think it's okay to tear ourselves apart and convince ourselves we're just not pretty enough?
P.S. Dove debuts short film "Selfie."