American Eagle – Aerie Underwear Ad
In the recent wave of body-positive movements (think Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and Demi Lovato’s social media posts), it’s no wonder that corporations are jumping on the band-wagon in a effort to distance themselves from the so-called “body-shamers”. The aim of Aerie’s ad is to emphasize the fact that they are one of the good guys – their images are real, the women in them are real, and the clothes they are wearing look just like they will on you. The issue here is, while it’s great that they are attempting to promote positive body image for girls, why did they have to cut this model down to just her bum? By removing her identity – her voice, her intellect, her thoughts and feelings -they make her into an object. An object that can sell underwear because even though they’re promoting body positivity, let’s not forget that sex sells. Their slogan reminds us of that: “the real you is sexy”.
If the real her is sexy, why can’t we see the rest of her? Exploiting the body-positive movement by objectifying women and using it to sell underwear is deplorable. The other issue presented here is that while they claim “the real you is sexy” etc, the woman chosen here still upholds those same standards of beauty that people in the body positive movement are striving to dispel. The model is white, has flawless skin, is thin, and perky. Where are the women of color? Where are the women above a size small? Where are the women with faces? Here it is clear that the brand is capitalizing on a trend to sell their underwear, perpetuating a culture where the consumer is more important than the individual.