Your new role model is only 19 years old. A pioneer of promoting healthy body image at any size, model Barbie Ferreira is stunning on the outside and from the looks of her message, morals and standpoints, on the inside, too. The voluptuous babe is getting showered with the praise she deserves, as the latest model featured in Aerie's non-Photoshopped #AerieREAL campaign. However, a certain publication is unintentionally turning this glorious step in body empowerment into a form of body-shaming and I don't think even Barbie herself would approve.
Last week, Aerie gave us a teaser for the ads featuring Barbie, where she embraces her body and says:
"It's very important to me, people knowing that that's what I look like without anyone's perception of what my body needs to look like. The world needs more women who are so strong... That's the most powerful thing in the world and it inspires me."
Take a look here:
Aerie's global brand president Jen Foyle explains why the brand hired Barbie, saying: "She’s got nothing to hide, she’s strong and beautiful — she embraces her real self, which is the spirit of the Aerie Real message."
All of this was incredibly uplifting until I came across Jezebel's article, titled: "Aerie Features Teen With Normal Body In Campaign."
Yes, as a 5'1'' girl who struggles to find fabric that will cooperate with my curves, I find it beyond refreshing and liberating to see trailblazing women like Barbie paving the way in doing what they do. Fully embracing the bodies they were blessed with. Not succumbing to the pressures of media we've been brainwashed with for years. Glorifying flaws instead of trying to fix them. But is it fair to call a woman in an ad campaign "normal" just because she doesn't have the seemingly unattainable body of a Victoria's Secret angel?
What is normal, anyway? Curvy women are deemed "plus-sized." Here, a size-12 model is deemed "normal." But if I'm bigger or smaller than a size-12, does that make me abnormal? What about someone with a different frame? Pear-shaped? Tall? Short? Couldn't put on five pounds even after housing all the Shake Shack in the world?
I see that this is a mindless slip-up, but throwing the word "normal" around so loosely can be dangerous. One minute, women strive to attain the skinny frames we've seen time and time again on the runways and in magazines. And now, we'll be feeling insecure if we don't have enough curves or aren't a certain size?
"Normal" and the blessing that is the female body should never be used simultaneously, and I think Barbie would back me on that one.