“You just need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they’re the most physically insecure women probably on the planet” – Cameron Russell, Supermodel

In relation to my last post a fellow INDEVOUR reminded me of the campaign Aerie is running this Spring called Untouched. Their featured models are girls that would not typically be chosen to show a line of intimates and the photos are advertised without any touch-ups. Their tagline: the real you is sexy.

Aerie’s clientele consists primarily of girls, aged 16-21 and they realize that this age is a vulnerable time for females. They want to encourage self-confidence and acceptance – two things my 16-year-old character was definitely lacking. I can, however, hear my younger self observing the photos thinking “aaaand they still look flawless”.

The girls in the photos are, by employment, still models – makes sense, they are modeling, but is the message that Aerie is trying to send what consumers are hearing? Or is the “message” just a part of their corporate social responsibility and not actually “we want you to accept who you are”? It would not be the first time we’ve seen that. A critic of the campaign asks “what happens when Spring is over?” Back to the business of flawlessness as usual?

While waiting in line at a store the other day, I picked up a book about Marilyn Monroe (I know, typical example but it fits…no pun intended) and flipped through the pages of pictures. One picture was this:


I turned it to my friend, surprised, and said “that would never be accepted today!”

Their tagline is also somewhat bothersome. It leaves girls feeling like sexy is their only option and assumes that every girl wants to be sexy. The line between being called sexy and being objectified is pretty thin. If you don’t already know some of the serious consequences that objectification leads to, check out this past blog – not something I take lightly.

The name of their campaign Untouched also hints of a double standard given to girls (thanks society, once again): you have to be sexy but remain unadulterated – whatever that means.

Aerie, I agree that the real you/me/her is sexy, thank you, but I think your campaign is just a marketing scheme. Society has unrealistic expectations of what women are supposed to look like or be. I’m not convinced that this campaign is going to help young females view themselves in a more positive light. If they are anything like I was as an adolescent, it will only encourage their next pursuit of “perfection.”



  1. You’re definitely right about there being those conflicting messages of sexy but pure (not retouched). It’s a double standard that I find really frustrating.

    You also linked to the Dove Real Beauty campaign, which is another seriously problematic series of ads that portray themselves as liberation. First, there’s the issue of “you’re perfect the way you are, but buy our products so you can be better.” Second, who the hell is Dove to tell me what real beauty is or who a real woman is? Overall, their ads still aren’t very representative. Not to mention that all the women in these campaigns are still professionally lit and have professionally crafted hair and make-up to make them look “their best.”


    1. mmhmm. i think as women, we can stand up to this nonsense by aaactually being confident in our natural beauty, because these ads mean nothing if you already like yourself 🙂


      1. Agreed! The problem is within ourselves… the media just isn’t making it any easier!! It’s pretty heard to hear the quiet “you’re beautiful” from within when the opposite is being screamed from every side! Love this post Margaret! 🙂


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