It’s been a banner year for body positivity, so we weren’t the least bit surprised when Aerie, American Eagle’s lingerie brand, announced #AerieMAN, a campaign with ordinary guys (OK, one has a six-pack, but real men can have abs too!) modeling underwear. The unretouched photos have the tagline “the real you is sexy” emblazoned on them. Aerie is already known for not retouching photos of women in their skivvies, so this seemed like a natural next step.
Then we started to notice little hints that #AerieMAN might not be a genuine campaign but rather an elaborate spoof. The company’s spokesperson won’t confirm that it’s a parody, but we found a mountain of evidence:
Aerie is technically a women’s lingerie brand and does not sell any men’s items. Instead all men’s underwear is sold under the American Eagle Outfitters label. The #AerieMan campaign includes four men, but the product pages on American Eagle’s website include only photos of Matt, the career model with the six-pack. When The Huffington Post requested hi-res images, the photos they received were labeled “ae_spoof.” Photo: The Huffington Post
And then there are the videos. Let’s dive into each one individually.