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The final stretch

After a long, much needed break from school and work last semester, I’m back at it for my final few months at ASU. I freelanced a bit over Christmas break but I really needed that relaxation to help me gear up for my last semester as an editor at The Herald.

For our first issue I had to write two obituaries which was new for me. It was a humbling experience. I had never met the two men before but hearing everyone’s personal stories about them really pushed me to try and write great features.

I also tried my hand at writing an opinions piece, another thing I’ve never done before. It was surprisingly easy and enjoyable and I’m very glad I took a stab at it. Read on for said piece, originally published here.

Take notes, Victoria’s Secret. American Eagle’s new Aerie campaign has just gathered the support of countless girls, teaching them to love their bodies just as they are.

The Aerie line of AE, which produces sleepwear and underwear, recently launched a campaign stating they would no longer Photoshop their models. Every scar, tattoo, birthmark and fold of skin will be left in place to showcase the real life bodies of girls instead of some airbrushed misconception. The initial photos released contain ladies modeling underwear but proudly displaying beauty marks and stomachs that don’t mirror the rippling abs of Victoria’s Secret models. Twitter and Tumblr exploded with excitement about the body positive advertisement, and with good reason.

This is a huge step to take as a company in an industry where tiny thighs and flawless skin take precedence over what real people actually look like in order to make a profit. I, for one, am ecstatic that AE has bounded ahead and addressed that young girls are, in fact, severely affected when they don’t look like the women in magazines.

As a teenager I had little to zero self confidence. My thighs were too big, my breasts too small, my hair too frizzy and my skin too spotty. According to magazines and ads I was not beautiful. My self worth was determined by my looks, which were far from perfect. Despite feeling ugly because of these photos (which at the time I didn’t understand to be Photoshopped), I continued to pick up the magazines and shop at the stores. My hope was maybe one day I would look like that. It doesn’t need saying that this is an unhealthy way of thinking.

Unfortunately, I am not the only young person to fall victim to this mindset. Girls and boys today are still comparing themselves to underwear and makeup models, buying the products in belief it will make them look like this person who has been slimmed down and smoothed out. And this is where AE comes in.

In what I consider to be the greatest campaign ever, Aerie has shown that nobody will look a specific way when wearing their clothing — but absolutely anybody can wear it and look beautiful in their own way. I was extremely thrilled as I scrolled through the pictures, seeing folds of skin, some stretch marks and even tattoos. The girls were radiant, portraying that yes, even with your scars and “thunder thighs,” you can look and feel good too.

By no means should a person only be defined by their looks. But taking a step in loving the skin you’re in can create a mental awakening to truly accepting yourself as you are. My hair is still frizzy, my thighs definitely squish out when I sit down and I’ve given up on having that perfect C-cup, but that doesn’t matter. There are girls out there just like me who have similar flaws and still look beautiful.

I commend AE for this campaign and hope other companies will get the hint and join the revolution. Then we can all be united through our imperfections.

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