Love YOUR Body, Not The World’s Idea of Beautiful

Illustration is by Paige Brown

In a world like today, we are used to seeing companies advertise their products using models. When you think of these models, you probably think of female models and envision thin, tall, beautiful, golden tan the perfect human beings, Victoria’s Secret models. Thinking of these models can mess with people’s anxiety and depression because women who look like that are very few and far between. 

Body positivity is something that everyone deals with at one point or another. People say the older you get, the less you care about stigmas, and the more you love how you look naturally. Why wait? Now is our time to love ourselves because WE are beautiful, YOU are beautiful.

Luckily, nowadays being in the 21st century, people are starting to embrace their natural beauty, no matter what their size is or what they look like. Body positivity is a huge topic right now, not only for everyday people and influencers but lots of well-known brands as well.

Before I dive into facts about various companies that are leaning away from using models, I thought I’d share a personal experience of my own. During the day I am a typical college student, balancing my school work, my life, and extracurriculars. On the side, I am a model with Docherty Agency in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. One day in November of 2019, I got an availability check for a Facebook ad. I said that I was free and eagerly awaited getting a call back hoping that I booked the job. A week or two passed and I emailed my agent asking if they heard back from Facebook. They told me that they decided to not cast any models but to find real people to advertise and make it connect with everyone and be realistic. I was happy to hear that was the route they decided to take because I believe that everyone is beautiful in their own unique way.

If you look at college ads, nine chances out of ten, the people you see wearing their gear or walking around campus are actual college students who go to that specific school. They are trying to advertise to high schoolers to say, “this could be you.” Remember looking through various college pamphlets and fliers seeing the college students looking so happy and eager wearing their school’s colors? That’s because they were excited to volunteer to hopefully bring in new students with their smiling faces.

Granted, there are companies that still use models, like Dove, the soap company. Even though they are still using models, they are trying to use ‘real’ looking models that fit into various shapes, sizes, skin tones, heights, etc. They try to pick women that range between 6-14 in size. They were one of the first companies to start the “Campaign for Real Beauty,” which started in 2004. At that time Philippe Harousseau, the director of this campaign for Dove said, “It is our belief that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes, and ages.” 

I know, I know, 2004 seems like a long time ago, but they are still using this campaign and improving it regularly. Even on their website, Dove has a pledge that states, “Dove wants to help make a positive experience of beauty accessible to all women. We believe that every woman should be able to define and enjoy the beauty on her own terms: enjoying it as a source of pleasure and self-expression.” They even have their own list of objectives which include: we portray women as they are in real life, we portray women with diversity, honesty, and respect and we help girls build body confidence and self-esteem.

After seeing all Dove has accomplished with this campaign, many other companies, like Aerie, have jumped on board to create their own version. Aerie Real’s personal statement says, “we are an inclusive, optimistic and empowering company that celebrates the individuality of our customers and associates. Our purpose is to show the world that there’s REAL power in the optimism of youth.” Their slogan is “Aerie bras make you feel REAL good” and their mission is “to empower all women to love their real selves.” They personally include and encourage girls to use the hashtag #AerieREAL to spread the love and positivity of all women.

Since companies are embracing the power of natural beauty, people are starting to become more empowered to love themselves for who they are. Dove and Aerie are just a couple of examples of how brands are advertising real people, so many more companies are jumping on board. Being in this industry, I have seen some little pieces of how these brands are switching to this alternate approach. Even if the models don’t fit the ‘real’ aesthetic, they are using less makeup and photoshop to keep the models as unedited as possible. It is time to stop judging people based on the world’s stereotypes of what women should look like and start loving EVERYONE for who they are, flaws and all. 

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Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor in chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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