body positivity (A MAG)

Numerous trends and tags are spread on social media daily. However, there is one in particular that is promoting a powerful message to women about body positivity and self acceptance.

The tag, #AerieREAL, was introduced by American Eagle Outfitter’s sister brand, Aerie, in 2014.

Introduced in 2006, Aerie became a popular lingerie, activewear and comfort clothing brand for young women. 

The Aerie Real tag was created after American Eagle decided to stop retouching their models and just capture women’s bodies as they are. They began using models of all sizes, body types and ages.

Both brands have become very accommodating and have added extra length to pants and even created curvy jeans for women with larger hips than their waist. 

Aerie has sizes ranging from 30A to 40DD in bras and xxs to xxl in clothing. 

The Aerie Real tag has grown massively over platforms like Instagram, with women across the world sharing photos of their natural bodies in Aerie’s clothing and undergarments. In total, there are over 206K photos posted with the tag. 

“The #AerieREAL mission is to empower all women to love their real selves,” Aerie’s Instagram bio states. 

Her Campus Kent State, a supportive group composed of college women, find they can easily feel confident shopping at Aerie stores. They believe the brand shaped the clothing industry by accepting all different body types.

“It’s important to have brands include all sizes, bodies and all women because of the way we compare ourselves to each other,” said Shelby Rabideaux, Her Campus president.

Aerie also works with the National Eating Disorders Association in their #AerieREAL campaign. NEDA is a nonprofit organization that helps people with eating disorders by raising awareness, funding research and giving resources to those in need. 

 A dollar is donated to NEDA every time the #AerieREAL tag is used and they even create limited-edition items like undies and tanks for the organization that receive 100 percent of the sales.

Every year, Aerie hosts walks with NEDA across the country to help raise money for families in need. 

“Eating disorders receive significantly less funding than other major mental illnesses. Support options are often inaccessible,” according to the NEDA Walks website. 

Aerie is not the only body inclusive brand. 

Two very large online retailers, ASOS and Modcloth, have made their way into the clothing industry.

 

Founded in 2000, ASOS has several sections of the website including petite, tall and curvy and specialize in new and trendy styles. 

ASOS promotes helping with mental health and a healthy body image by never altering the appearance of their models.

“We have a Model Welfare Policy in place to support and protect our models,” according to the ASOS website.

Modcloth, a company focused on unique pieces representing vintage clothing items, signed the Heroes Pledge for Advertisers, which vows to not use photoshop on any models.

In 2015, Modcloth removed the plus size section from their website. They conducted a survey and two-thirds of the responses from women said they felt embarrassed to shop in the plus size section of their site. Now, they have size selection available through filters. 

“What's more, our products are available in a diverse size range, from 00-28, including plus sizes,” according to Modcloth’s website. 

The body is only one part of the woman;  Kent State’s More Than A Body club promotes the idea that the body is not the defining factor of any person. 

“It’s our physical vessel that let’s us carry our hearts and souls,” said Megan Taylor, president of More Than A Body. 

Taylor said it is important to show people with different disabilities and it makes a huge impact on the people that are represented. From her personal experience, seeing a model with the same appearance can truly touch someone. 

“Excluding people doesn’t make anyone more important, it just hurts people,” Taylor said. “ We all have so, so, so much more than just the way we look.”

Contact Emily Adorno at eadorno@kent.edu.

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