This April Fool’s Day, Aerie/American Eagle really stepped in it. Actually, to say that they “stepped in it” is too kind; that might suggest that it was not a premeditated act of cruelty and supremacy. Aerie/American Eagle straight up bamboozled a group of male models, making them the underwear-clad butts of their body positive joke. Not only was this for April Fool’s Day (Apr 1), but they started early!
Aerie/American Eagle ran the #AerieMan campaign with the slogan “The Real You Is Sexy.” Seeing a mainstream brand support men who may have self-esteem issues was incredibly inspiring and a bold, brave move on their part. While it was tongue-in-cheek, it felt like a gentle, playful introduction to a serious topic that’s often difficult to navigate. To suggest that men do not feel pressure to fit into an ideal masculine male mold is naive at best — and sexist at worst.
One good thing that came from this is, it created actual discussion about masculine body positivity. A lot of men and masc-presenting folks who do not normally talk about the topic are standing up for themselves and saying “Hey, my body is not the punchline of a joke.” The campaign has also left us with a massive style crush on Notoriously Dapper’s Kelvin Davis. He’s got style for days and embraces his body while encouraging others to do so.