Aerie Adds More Fuel to the Body Positive Revolution
By: Gabby Frost (@gabby_frost)
Self-love is a difficult task for most people to accomplish, especially in the world we live in today. Women are constantly objectified and their bodies are expected to fit this "perfect" mold, even though most people realize it is unrealistic. While it is a priority to end the objectification of women, we should also give our attention to the objectification of men. Yes, men are objectified too, but you may be less aware of it since it differs from how women are. Ever see a girl post something that states she wants a boyfriend with a six pack of abs? A boyfriend who is ripped? It may seem harmless, but this damages boys' self-esteem the same way that boys state they want a skinny girlfriend. Men come in all shapes and sizes - just like women - which can vary from skinny to average to husky to overweight.
A person of any gender can experience the feeling of being self-conscious, which in most extreme circumstances can lead to eating disorders. An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male, and they are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they are “woman’s diseases." Mental illnesses, including eating disorders, can affect anyone of any gender - female, male, or non-binary. Instead of targeting only women for body positive campaigns, we should begin to include everyone. Teaching the whole world to love themselves at once could be such a powerful thing; communities of empowerment and positivity would result from such a movement. Thanks to Aerie, we are beginning the revolution in winning back our self-confidence from the toxic companies who set beauty standards on the whole world.
On March 23rd, Aerie announced its new installation of body positive campaigns - Aerie Man. They released a video featuring four men of varying body sizes, Devon, Matt, Kelvin, and Doug, as well as Aerie Real model Iskra Lawrence. These men are seen doing normal, daily tasks such as sitting in bed reading, taking out the trash, relaxing, posing in the mirror, and even taking some butt selfies, as they talk about what being a part of Aerie Man means to them. One of my favorite quotes comes from Doug, who says that "healthy body image is loving who you are, not trying to create an image for someone else. I think you need to do what’s good." His words encompass what all of Aerie's campaigns are trying to accomplish and have the potential resonate with people, especially other men.
Men deserve and have the right to love their bodies just as much as anyone else, and by establishing Aerie Man, Aerie is taking the first step in a long journey to achieve body positivity for all. Aerie is one of the only major companies who seems to care for the well-being of their customers, which leads to this question: will more companies follow Aerie's lead and begin to represent different body types, or even different genders? By representing all genders, sizes, sexualities, races, and religions, we can create a world where we empower one another. No one will think someone else's beauty is the absence of their own if we let everyone know that they are beautiful no matter what they look like or who they are.
Next time you look in the mirror, remember that you are beautiful the way you were made. No matter what size you are, 100% of your body is full of beauty. You deserve to stare at your reflection and see the beauty within you instead of a distorted view of yourself.