American Eagle and American Apparel are taking big steps to challenge the feminine ideal entrenched in American society. It appears that they are shifting their marketing in a big way, from ditching Photoshop, to models and mannequins that are more anatomically correct à la The Joy of Sex first edition.
First up, American Eagle is ditching Photoshop… at least for their new Aerie Real Campaign. Aerie is a lingerie line aimed at younger consumers (15 to 21) and American Eagle says they are hoping that the unretouched photos will help young women feel more comfortable with themselves rather than striving for an unrealistic image. Let’s hope this is the first of many many steps by the fashion industry towards advertisements with more transparency and less Photoshop.
Some are still criticizing the move though, saying that it doesn’t go far enough towards erasing the impossible body standards entrenched in our culture and noting that the models in the campaign are still very thin. PolicyMic writer Nina Ippolito says the campaign “represents meager progress at best [and] at worst, it’s a calculated attempt to use the idea of body positivity for the sole purpose of selling [lingerie].”
Ippolito’s main complaint is that the models don’t represent all body types, and let’s face it… I’ve been there. But, I do have to applaud American Eagle for picking a line that is marketed to a young audience and ditching the use of Photoshop in it. Being hit with highly retouched photos at a young age is where all the problems start. The expectation to be like the girl on the magazine cover who doesn’t really exist because she was invented in a computer program will hopefully be replaced with an expectation to eat healthy and be active to look like the girl in the Aerie campaign… wouldn’t that be fantastic!
American Apparel also made headlines recently for their own challenge to the perfect female image which they did with mannequins in their store windows with pubic hair and nipples (the mannequins also had glasses on). American Apparel Tweeted that they they were trying to start a conversation about feminine beauty.” Well, consider the conversation started! American Apparel also has models in their online store that features the same visible pubic hair and nipples (though no glasses), and they have long been knows for their lack of airbrushed campaigns.
I wonder which company will be next to ditch the Photoshop and get real.
What do you think of the direction American Eagle/Apparel is going?
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