By Breana DiazSpecial To the Chronicle
In the next month, Aerie, American Eagle’s line of lingerie for young women, will stop airbrushing and Photoshopping models in its advertising campaigns. The company aims to create a more realistic view of the female body and to encourage women to embrace their natural looks.
Body image plays a large role in our generation’s self esteem. Girls still cut models’ pictures out of magazines and post them on their mirrors. Girls still crave to look just like them. Girls still starve themselves in order to resemble Barbies. When it comes to advertising, not only are products a part of the brand; so are the people. Aerie is taking a step toward feeding a more positive subliminal message to young women: love your body.
Body image controversies most often present themselves in magazines. Young girls with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a condition in which girls obsess over perceiving that they have appearance flaws, are hit the hardest.
Elle magazine has recently been profiled as racist and unfair due to its treatment of actress Mindy Kaling of “The Mindy Project.” The problem is, Elle shot covers of four women: Allison Williams, Zooey Deschanel, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling. The first three, white and thin, were printed in full color with full-body framing. Kahling, darker skinned and a size eight, was shot in black and white from the chest up. When young people read of injustices like this, they’re led to believe that it is not acceptable to be who they are.
Another instance of unethical photo retouching was seen in the January issue of Vogue magazine. Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO hit “Girls,” was touched up in a photo feature. Lena looks fantastic, but they wanted to touch up just a few things. These include: shoulder and neck shaved down, lines on her face removed, jawline sharpened, waist and hips made narrower, dimple removed, and hands smoothed.
Girls see these false images and think that it’s possible to make their bodies look the same way. But they must realize that these images do not exist outside of Photoshop. The college environment doesn’t exactly foster a healthy lifestyle. All that college students have time to focus on is school and sleep. Unfortunately, if we can’t find time to head to the gym, some of us feel a need to engage in harmful practices in order to look like the models in magazines.
Loving your body is a hard thing to do when you are exposed to the perfect-looking models and celebrities in magazines such as Vogue and Elle. Magazines promote self-mutilation to the same girls that they look to hire as college interns. In the near future, we can hope that other companies will see Aerie’s progressive move and begin to follow in their footsteps—creating a more realistic image for women in today’s society.