Wake up, Abercrombie and Fitch! Real women accept their imperfections

The Aber­crom­bie and Fitch CEO has put me into com­plete shock after learn­ing about his com­ment on the type of peo­ple he wants shop­ping at his stores. It made me real­ize how cruel and insen­si­tive some peo­ple can be toward top­ics such as eat­ing dis­or­ders and low-self-esteem. CEO Mike Jef­feries only wants the “cool” and “attrac­tive all-American kid” to buy his cloth­ing. He says that Aber­crom­bie and Fitch is exclu­sion­ary. Who doesn’t like to feel exclu­sive or part of the “in” or “pop­u­lar” crowd?

I know I did when I was in mid­dle and high school, but because I strug­gled for accep­tance through my body image I wound up becom­ing anorexic. I started 7th grade a healthy 110 pounds but by the time I reached my fresh­man year I was an unhealthy size 00 weigh­ing only 75 pounds. Some do not under­stand that weight is not the only thing you lose when becom­ing anorexic; you also lose your hair, con­fi­dence, your mind and your hap­pi­ness. You also have a rot­ting odor and go through depres­sion. I thought los­ing weight would be this won­der­ful expe­ri­ence until I was cry­ing almost every night for rea­sons I couldn’t even explain, ques­tion­ing why I was even still alive.
Accord­ing to the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Anorexia Ner­vosa and Asso­ci­ated Dis­or­ders, anorexia is the third most com­mon chronic ill­ness among ado­les­cents. The mor­tal­ity rate asso­ci­ated with anorexia ner­vosa is 12 times higher than the death rate asso­ci­ated with all causes of death for females 15–24 years old. Mor­tal­ity can result from organ fail­ure, heart fail­ure, mal­nu­tri­tion or sui­cide. Sixty-nine per­cent of female stu­dents rang­ing from 5th-12th grade have reported that pic­tures they see in mag­a­zines strongly influ­ence their idea of the per­fect body image.
Luck­ily in recent news, Aerie has launched the “Real” Spring 2014 cam­paign which no longer uses size 00 mod­els or Pho­to­shop. The cam­paign pro­motes healthy young women of all shapes and sizes. The cam­paign ads go against unre­al­is­tic, air­brushed, and photo shopped mod­els. In 2013, “body pos­i­tiv­ity” mes­sag­ing began mak­ing way with other com­pa­nies such as Spe­cial K, Pan­tene and Dove pro­mot­ing real women accept­ing their imper­fec­tions.
Pro­mot­ing “body pos­i­tiv­ity” is just the start to help­ing young men and women embrace their imper­fec­tions and to strive for a healthy body and not an unre­al­is­tic one. One of the most obvi­ous ways to pro­mote this is to join the Real Cam­paign. To edu­cate the upcom­ing gen­er­a­tions, Body Pos­i­tiv­ity is some­thing that should be taught in health classes in grade schools. Cloth­ing stores should ban all use of air­brushed mod­els, to pre­vent peo­ple from per­ceiv­ing an unre­al­is­tic body image.
To open the eyes of the A & F CEO, avoid going in his stores and buy­ing his clothes. When he real­izes he’s lost the sup­port of his exclu­sive audi­ence, he may rethink his pri­or­i­ties and morals.

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