Here you can see my Jammed version of the original ad, in which I have highlighted the deceptive use of bold claims juxtaposed with direct contradictions to those claims by using what Mark Dery calls “Subvertising”. Aerie claims they’re not using supermodels – well then why does the model still have a supermodel body? They claim they haven’t retouched her – does she seriously not have a single freckle, mole or scar on her? They claim “the real you is sexy” – but still use a model who adheres to our culture’s impossible standards of beauty. She’s white, she’s perfect, and she’s without a voice.
By projecting that their motives have changed and removing the model’s face, she has become an object used to sell underwear. When in fact, this is just another marketing strategy used to exploit young girls into buying their product. Note that they’re not claiming that “the real you is more than enough”, they’re claiming “the real you is sexy”. This still sends the problematic message that sex appeal is paramount to a girl’s image.
The issue here is that society (and aerie) may claim to be moving towards loving every body type regardless of size, ethnicity or gender, but it is ads like these which hinder the process rather than help it. By claiming to be a part of the body positive movement without actually being a part of it, they confuse and control the “consumer’s” actions. Despite advances made in feminism over the past century, women are still subjected to being sexualized and criticized for their looks. Being a woman is more than having a perky rear end. “The real you” is the sum of all the things which make you, you: mind, body and soul.
Dery, Mark. “Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of Signs”. Mark Dery. 24 June 2016. Web.
Urbano, John. aerie Real. American Eagle. Web. 24 June 2016.