American Eagle Bravely Launches Campaign Of Unretouched Beautiful People

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.


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?


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.


“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.


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  • SusannahJoy

    Yeah, if my ass looked like that I’d never wear pants.

    • keelhaulrose

      If my anything looked like that I’d be a nudist.

  • jendra_berri

    I’m just gonna throw this out there… doesn’t that woman have a wedgie? Or am I just an old biddy with giant underpants?

    • keelhaulrose

      Count me into the granny panty club here. That doesn’t look comfortable.
      But her ass does look amazing…

    • 502 Bad Gateway

      Sounds like a case of too much junk in her trunk

    • Cee

      I hate those “cheeky” undies! When I was younger and dumber, I would wear these because they brought the girls my yard, but glob did my butt cheeks eat those all the time. They are in no way practical.

    • Ally

      I freaking hate the “cheeky” underwear and my ass (no bragging, I promise) looks a lot like hers. It is so uncomfortable to me.

  • Janok Place

    I’ve never been one to look at a billboard and get all “Dayum, I need some lingerie so I can look like that chick!”…. I like the direction they’re trying to go here, I think model #2 is a step in the right direction. She’s got a natural, proportionate figure. Model #1… Well, I’m sure she’s come to terms with the fact that women ever will loathe her and that ridiculous ass she has. Life is so unfair, and I know buying the panties won’t give me her ass. At least when the photo’s have been retouched, we can justify why we don’t all have that ass ;)

  • Kay_Sue

    In all fairness, the first photo, she does have a blemish/birth mark on her right (from our point of view) cheek. That would definitely be retouched…and don’t ask why I stared long enough to notice that…

    …I wish I had that ass.

    In other news, Aerie might have sold me, although I am also slightly out of their demographic for these ads.

  • Mel

    I think you hit the nail right on the head here. They are saying nice things, but they continue to only use conventionally beautiful women and then comment that they’re beautiful. Duh! That’s not exactly a risk and it certainly doesn’t make regular/real women fell any better about themselves. If anything, it makes me feel a little shittier about myself. If these women look this amazing without retouching or alteration, I might as well give it all up and go stick my ugly head in the oven.

  • pixie

    Those three are all beautiful young women, and definitely do not need a lot of touching up with photoshop. That being said, the second two girls would most likely have their tattoos covered up.

    My ass is pretty close to that, though.

  • privadera

    Well, to be honest these are almost more disappointing… because people actually look this much better than me without even any help from a computer… :(

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    Well, the second one, her hair is kind of ordinary. And you can see the wall behind it in 2 places, so maybe that would have gotten touched up? Otherwise, they’re all pretty damn perfect.

  • Justme

    I had boudin pictures taken when I was 25 – right before I married my husband, his wedding present, actually. My ass looked like that.

    Five years and one daughter later? Not so much. God, I wish that ass…but I certainly didn’t appreciate it at the time. I thought I was SO fat. Ridiculous.

  • SarahJesness

    Pretty much every company that has done a “real beauty” campaign pulls this kind of crap. Some might go a little further than others, but in the end, they never use women you’d call “ugly” or even “homely”.

  • SA

    hahaha! I just got my catalog in the mail this weekend and screamed and threw it away. Please don’t show me a perfect ass and then brag that it isn’t ‘touched up’. I’d much rather believe that it was airbrushed. Throw in some cellulite if you want to make me feel better.

  • Katherine Handcock

    Sadly, yes, they would have touched up these models. So they would have looked even more perfect. Infuriating.

  • Nina

    This is very real to me, all of the images. This is what the majority of women who are healthy and into fitness look like. A lot of women who have toned abs, for example, will still have folds of skin and some pudge when they sit — but they’re still toned. These photos are definite examples of what a fit and healthy woman often looks like before retouching. However, I do take offense at the fact that they’re using the word “real” because I always find it irritating when people somewhat try to imply that VS models aren’t “real women.” What are they, then, if they’re not “real women”? Cardboard cutouts? I like how Aerie is promoting being healthy and fit but in a non-airbrushed fashion.