Friday, March 21, 2014

"Real Women"

Yesterday I posted this picture on my Instagram:

I love this campaign by Aerie (and they have panties on sale - get thee to the mall!), but I wanted to talk a little about why, and some campaigns I don't like. 

For those of you who haven't seen it, Aerie is doing something a little different with their models.

Their #aeriereal campaign states: 

"We think it's time for a change. We think it's time to GET REAL and THINK REAL. We want every girl to feel good about who they are and what they look like, inside and out. This means NO MORE RETOUCHING OUR GIRLS AND NO MORE SUPERMODELS.

Why? Because there is no reason to retouch beauty. We think the REAL YOU IS SEXY."


They're also, in a really revolutionary move, showing bras in all their sizes. So you can look at a bra and see what it looks like on a A, B, C, D, and DD. 

Which means I get to see something I've never seen before on a website. 

A woman wearing a bra I could wear. 

Via Aerie
Also, how beautiful is this girl? With her own arms, that little smoosh under her arm that we all get when we pull our arms in, with great lighting but without an alien stomach? 
I'm all about looking your best with makeup and some good lighting if you want - but photoshopping people into strange rubber creatures is just horrifying. 

I'm just unbelievably happy to live in a world where at least one company is taking a stand against photoshopping their models into oblivion. And a company that shows a variety of women, and argues that they are ALL REAL WOMEN. 

Because another company that I occasionally shop at does the exact opposite of this. 

Lane Bryant is one of the WORST about shaming women's bodies in their advertising - and the way people talk about them doesn't help. 

Yeah, Victoria's Secret doesn't have any models above a certain size. But they aren't saying "Only skinny women are REAL WOMEN." 

But Lane Bryant has "Real Women Dollars" and talk a lot about what real women look like. Everyone I know who shops there a lot, or works there, says they're a store for real women. 

They're body shaming while pretending to make people feel good about themselves. While pretending to promote feminism and body appreciation.

And that's even worse than not selling or showing bras in a more average size than VS does. 

Now don't get me wrong. I shop at Lane Bryant. 

I usually am too small for their clothes (and also, I've never understood why things any bigger than a large have to have tigers or rhinestones or bedazzling of some those ugly studs are going to make people think you're smaller?) but I do buy bras and occasionally an accessory or two there. 

But saying that it's a store for "real women" basically excludes a ton of women from shopping there. Most of them would be excluded anyway, but...are thin women not "real women"?

Real woman. 
(Also - hooray tattoo acceptance!!!)

Real woman. 

Real woman. Maybe photoshopped, but a real woman. 
Via VS.

Real woman. And a badass.

Real woman. 

Basically unless we're talking about the Buffybot, if you're looking at a picture of a woman, she's a real woman. 


A woman and a person who probably has body concerns just like you do. 

Just like I do. 

That doesn't change because you're thin. 

Or because you're heavy. 

Or because you have tattoos. 

Or because you are a supermodel. 

Because no matter what, you're a real woman. 

And shaming other women for their size, whether you are shaming them for being too skinny or too large, is hurting us all. 

I'm guilty of this. 

I bet you are too. 

It's time to stop. 

Let's recognize that ALL women are REAL WOMEN. 

Whether we're models or grad students, we're all women. The exclusion of supermodels is my only problem with the Aerie campaign - they're people too. 

We have to stick together, ladies. 

When we say some women aren't real women, whether because of their size or their perceived femininity or their height or whatever, that causes all kinds of problems.

Only "real women" can shop here.

Only "real women" have curves.

Only "real women" are people.

Those "fake women"?

"Fake women" are sexual objects. 

"Fake women" are just a pretty face. 

"Fake women" aren't really people. 

"Fake women" are sluts. 

"Fake women" are asking for it. 


By saying some women are real and some aren't, you're, in the extreme, being a rape apologist. 

Think about that. 

So let's all stop. 

Stop confusing fake women: 

Buffybot. Never forget.

Not because of her size, but because she literally isn't real.

And real women: 

Stop putting down other women. 

Because when we stand up, and help each other stand up, we're unstoppable. 


*Of course, if you have a friend you suspect of having an eating disorder, talk to them, or get help. Not just someone who is "too skinny" or "too large" but someone you think might be hurting themselves. Someday maybe no one will photoshop, and maybe we'll stop being so concerned with what our bodies look like compared to everyone else and start celebrating the magic they're capable of, but, until then, don't be afraid to help your friends help themselves. 

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