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American Eagle ditches Photoshop in new campaign – but is it enough?

Aerie’s new campaign pledges not to alter photos of its models

Clothing retailer American Eagle has dovetailed with a certain soap brand by launching its own "real beauty" campaign.

Instead of Photoshopping models down to the last inch, the company's Aerie Real campaign is leaving so-called flaws untouched – stretch marks, dimples, birth marks and all.

"We left everything. We left beauty marks, we left tattoos, what you see is really what you get with our campaign," Aerie brand representative Jenny Altman told Good Morning America.

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The models are still drop-dead gorgeous, of course.

In these Aeria ads, you might spot a slightly rounded belly here or a brown spot there. But the models are uniformly young and slim, sporting ample B– and C-cup bras.

"They are still models, they're still gorgeous, they just look a little more like the rest of us," Altman said.

Um, really?

More than one third of American adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the U.S Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it may not be the fashion industry's job to promote obesity, it might be helpful if the industry stopped pretending that fashion models, however untouched, are in the same ballpark as "the rest of us."

Online, many women didn't think Aerie Real went far enough to promote more realistic standards for their customers.

"If it's truly about diversity, what about including people who are petite, more muscular, have missing limbs, skin conditions, or other physical characteristics of real people?" commented NinjaDragonXyzizzle at

Story continues below advertisement reader PaigeLeslie objected to the mention of tattoos in the list of "flaws."

"I don't understand why something someone very purposefully does (and pays a good amount of money for) is being considered an 'imperfection,'" she wrote.

A recent Swiss campaign showing mannequins modelled after real people with disabilities suggests the public may be ready for a lot more "imperfections" than the fashion industry realizes.

Here's hoping for Aerie Real 2.0.

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