Every day, millions of women look at their bodies in dissatisfaction. Because they want to be seen as perfect, they result to extreme measures like anorexia, bulimia, and excessive working out in order to obtain what is known as the perfect body. And obviously, this is a problem represented by the girl in the PSA. However, companies have been trying to combat the perfect body and the skinny ideal, and have succeeded with worldwide support in doing so. Dove, Aerie, and PINK have taken a stance against what is seen as beautiful, a sure confidence booster with for the 80-90% of women who are dissatisfied with their bodies, because of photoshopping like this.
Aerie, a company owned by American Eagle, has also launched their own positive body image campaign called Aerie Real. For this campaign, Aerie is aiming to promote positive body image by using absolutely no Photoshop on any of its models. Aerie claims that they are “‘challenging supermodel standards by featuring unretouched models in their latest collection of bras, undies and apparel’” (qtd. in Beck). Granted, the models are chosen because they do have a slimmer figure, but despite how thin they are, the models actually look like human beings – they have chubbier stomachs, thicker thighs, and larger breasts than models who are being photoshopped. By using the unedited photos, they are living up to the slogan on their website that says, “Whether you’re as flat as a surfboard or as curvy as a coconut, there is no such thing as a perfect beach body. The real you is sexy” (Aerie Website).
Additionally, Aerie has extended its campaign efforts beyond its personal website. Aerie asked women to post their photos on Instagram and Twitter with “#AerieReal.” Take a look at one of the many positive responses from teens and women today.
In September of 2004, Dove, partnering with the Girls Club, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and the Girl Scouts of America, began a new campaign called “The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.” You’ve probably seen this video, showing the before and after photos of every day women, who are put behind a curtain and describe themselves, but with a twist. If you haven’t, take a look.
Ann, mother and court reporter, stated, “‘I love the Dove ads. Every time I pass a billboard, I honestly feel happier about myself. I think, these are real, beautiful women; these are my friends. I feel empowered and motivated. I feel like, “Hey, I’m okay!”’” (qtd. in Nelson, 58).
Ladies, remember that super cute pair of underwear branded with some flirty phrase like “No Peeking!” that you got super duper cheap at the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale? Hate to break it to you, but Pink, has eliminated the flirty phrases. Why? The answer is plain and simple: they give consent to those that may not want it.
PINK, owned by Victoria’s Secret, has now created its own movement, known as LOVEconsent, which makes underwear with phrases like “Consent is Sexy,” directly notifying a significant other that they must ask for consent before they do anything.
With this overhaul of underwear phrases came the overhaul of the models they used. Directly on the Pink Consent website are women with several different body types. There are slender girls, curvier girls, and heavier girls all modeling the new line. So, while they’re advocating against rape culture, they are also striking down the thin-only models that they have previously been using. I have never thought more highly of a company for tackling not one, but two major negative forces currently facing several societies.
With these companies finally starting to speak out against the body ideal norm follows the words of many other women who want to promote better body image and rid magazines of featuring images like this
Bottom line: you’re much better than the photoshop that is used on models. You don’t have to be or look like anyone that you don’t want to be, except who you want to be. And that, friends, is what beauty is.