Just two weeks ago, Aerie, the lingerie spin-off of American Eagle, launched a new advertising campaign, vowing to cease its use of airbrushing on models, in order to encourage a healthy and realistic body image. In honor of Feel Good in February month that is fast approaching here at Bowdoin, we vow to advertise these advertisements in support of this campaign.
While these advertisements are just a drop in a pond bigger than that of one small company, they address an issue pressing their demographic of buyers: women between the ages of 15 and 22. In a study on the effect of advertisements on the minds of young consumers done in 2004, a sample of 126 women viewed advertisements of models’ full bodies and parts of bodies. The study found that women experienced increased body dissatisfaction and mood swings immediately after viewing the images. If simple advertisements have such a negative effect on women’s every day moods, then why do sales of magazines containing such images continue to skyrocket? Aerie and other companies like Dove have spoken out against this fad in response.
While “Feel Good in February,” Peer Health’s approach to the upcoming month encourages a healthy approach to taking care of our bodies, its main purpose is to inspire body satisfaction among ourselves and our peers. If supermodels and fashion ads do it for you, then by all means carry on! The 2004 study was not an all-inclusive generalization about the entire population of college-age males and females in the world, but a randomly chosen sample. However, if you are one of these dissatisfied, then this study gives you good reason to put down the ads and pick yourself up.
Here is a link to the article about Aerie’s recent change and the 2004 study: