American Eagle has launched a campaign for their sister store Aerie‘s lingerie line that uses unretouched photographs of models. I think American Eagle’s heart is in the right place. But the fact that these photographs would be considered groundbreaking makes me just want to curl up on my couch and never show my hideously imperfect self again.

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Oh look – a perfect ass. I guess the presence of a fold of skin instead of a back upper thigh that flows seamlessly into the butt cheek is making this “real.” Has it really gotten this bad that there’s something we all actually think needs to be retouched about this image? It has, hasn’t it?

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I’m trying to figure out what needs to be retouched here? The fold of skin under her armpit, maybe? Her tan line? The girl has a gorgeous, voluptuous body.

Extreme photoshopping is pervasive in advertising, so I’m really happy at least one company is taking a stand. When gorgeous, young models aren’t even perfect enough to avoid a massive make-over in photoshop – something is seriously wrong.

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“The girl in this photo has not been retouched. The real you is sexy.” I like the message and the effort American Eagle is making. The target demographic for this line is 15-21-year old girls – a demographic that is disturbingly affected by advertising images. There are just a few unsettling things about this; for one, that we’ve come to a point where not retouching conventionally beautiful women is considered bold and powerful. Also, I find it a little strange that 15-21-year-old girls can be in the same target demographic for lingerie.

Ultimately, we all really need to stop drinking the Kool Aid. People are not perfect – and we’re not doing anyone – least of all young women – any favors by pretending perfection is attainable. If not “fixing” already gorgeous women is a step in that direction, I’m all for it.

(photos: Aerie.com)