The body positivity movement continues to inspire self-love and acceptance in a society full of impossible beauty standards, but one company’s efforts to celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes just went seriously awry: Aerie has apologized after putting out a modeling casting call for “the most heinous, bizarre-looking women imaginable.”
Yikes. This definitely sends the wrong message about body positivity.
While Aerie has drawn praise in the past for the inclusion of nontraditional body types in their advertisements, the lingerie brand seemed to overplay their hand yesterday when it posted a casting call seeking out “the most, heinous, bizarre-looking women imaginable” to pose for its summer 2018 body positivity campaign. The listing immediately drew a public outcry from people offended by Aerie’s stated desire to find “wonky-looking women with weird-ass features” so the company can be “the first to ever tell these freaks that they’re beautiful.”
To its credit, Aerie quickly took responsibility for the misstep and issued an official apology today on its website:
We would like to express our sincere regret for the modeling casting call we released yesterday asking for “heinous, bizarre-looking women,” which upon review does not meet Aerie’s mission of inclusivity. While our goal was to make women who exist outside of the media’s narrow definition of beauty feel confident and appreciated, we now realize that asking for “total bottom-of-the-barrel girls” to model our swimwear does not accomplish that. At the time, we wrongfully believed that our request for models with “bulging cartoon eyes and towering slabs of forehead” would lead to an empowering moment of representation, but we can now see that referring to women as “lurching piles of misshapen parts” is in no way uplifting, and we deeply apologize for the hurt we have caused.”
Wow. While a judgment error like this will be hard to bounce back from, we’re impressed that Aerie owned up and apologized. Here’s hoping Aerie learned its lesson about how not to do body positivity and won’t make any more mistakes like this in the future.