Real beauty comes out on top

We all know that in the beauty industry, photo shopping models is common practice. From fixing their skin tone and hair to making them appear slimmer and more toned, models are often left virtually unrecognisable in the final photo. It really does set an unrealistic and unattainable standard of beauty that has a negative effect on women all over the world. Even actresses and singers aren’t left alone when it comes to retouching pictures; every single woman in the public eye has been digitally altered to appear “more attractive” and it’s totally unnecessary. So why does this kind of digital manipulation occur? Well beauty brands and magazines do it because they want to sell products. If their products or brand is associated with someone who doesn’t look perfect, they think it won’t sell. However, this myth has just been proven as bogus. A fashion label called Aerie, which is part of clothing giant American Eagle, has recently stopped airbrushing photographs of its models and in turn has seen a profit soar of 20%. Over the last two years, the brand has stopped digitally altering their advertisements and promotional shots and they are flourishing. In 2014, Aerie launched the campaign #aeriereal which saw them hiring “plus-size” models, as well as leaving in perceived imperfections in photos such as tattoos, stretch marks, scars, blemishes and moles. It just goes to show that unrealistic portrayals of women aren't needed to sell clothes or beauty products; it’s so easy to sell products to people simply by showing them the truth and crucially, without damaging their self-esteem. It’s an important issue that needs to be tackled as last year, a range of studies were published that highlighted how school-aged children were being affected by unattainable body and beauty portrayals in the media. In 2012, the Schools Health Education Unit reported that 58% of female pupils aged 14-15 were looking to lose weight whilst ¼ were purposely skipping meals to avoid weight gain. We’d like to celebrate the Aerie’s campaign and thank them for leaving their already beautiful models alone! And it’s not just us – they were awarded a seal of approval from the US' National Eating Disorder Association too! Whether it’s to sell skincare products, clothing or lingerie, we say natural beauty is best – not digital manipulation.

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