Aerie's Male Body Positive Campaign Was Cruel April Fools' "Parody" — and Twitter's Pissed

Source: American Eagle

Just when you thought body positive conversations were becoming more inclusive, here comes a head-scratching announcement that the recent Aerie campaign, #AerieMAN — which featured four diverse men along with the tagline "the real you is sexy" — was in fact an April Fools' "parody" of Aerie's own #AerieReal campaign. 

Read more: Aerie's New Ads Feature Barbie Ferreira, the "Curve Model" to Watch

American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie's parent company, issued a press release on Friday announcing that the hoax was launched to raise awareness about body diversity.

"American Eagle Outfitters proves once again they're not afraid to take a risk and have a laugh in support of a good cause," it reads, announcing its pledge to "forego retouching its male models in its underwear and swim images beginning Holiday 2016."

Source: Giphy

Dissatisfied with that answer, Mic reached out to the company. "#AerieMan was not a prank but rather an opportunity for us to raise awareness about body positivity," an American Eagle spokesperson said in an email, which the company also reiterated on Twitter.

While American Eagle might have thought this would be a humorous take on an important issue, the internet was less than amused, with many why wondering this warranted a parody at all. After all, what is funny about diverse male bodies? And why did the campaign have to be a parody in order to "raise awareness about body positivity"? Why wasn't it "real"?

Naturally, Twitter didn't miss a beat in calling bullshit:

Although there has been some positive discussion about male body confidence, such as IMG Models launching a male plus-size division and brands like Chubbies on the rise, the #AerieMAN debacle is a sad step back in the slow-building momentum. 

Men of all shapes and sizes deserve campaigns that cater to them — no joke.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Hayley Wilbur

Hayley is a staff writer at Mic, covering style. Say hi: hayley@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Woman kicked out of pool for wearing "inappropriate" one-piece bathing suit

"This is how rape culture continues to grow," the woman's fiancée wrote in a viral Facebook post.

What Melania Trump wore her 22nd week as first lady — the week she appeared nearly every day

Looks like the move to the White House has changed Melania Trump's reputation as an invisible first lady.

Jennifer Lopez wants you to know that this pic of her flawless abs is not airbrushed, thanks very much

Thanks for asking, but no, that's really what Jennifer Lopez looks like.

In case you ever doubted it, being an unsigned model is hard as hell

'Mic' spoke to a number of unsigned models to find out how they manage it all.

This beauty brand is empowering women every morning with positive affirmations

RealHer wants to make women's morning routines about feeling good, as opposed to feeling pressure to "look good."

Boys show up to school in skirts after shorts not allowed in summer weather

On Thursday, many boys showed up in the skirts to prove a point about the dress code.

Woman kicked out of pool for wearing "inappropriate" one-piece bathing suit

"This is how rape culture continues to grow," the woman's fiancée wrote in a viral Facebook post.

What Melania Trump wore her 22nd week as first lady — the week she appeared nearly every day

Looks like the move to the White House has changed Melania Trump's reputation as an invisible first lady.

Jennifer Lopez wants you to know that this pic of her flawless abs is not airbrushed, thanks very much

Thanks for asking, but no, that's really what Jennifer Lopez looks like.

In case you ever doubted it, being an unsigned model is hard as hell

'Mic' spoke to a number of unsigned models to find out how they manage it all.

This beauty brand is empowering women every morning with positive affirmations

RealHer wants to make women's morning routines about feeling good, as opposed to feeling pressure to "look good."

Boys show up to school in skirts after shorts not allowed in summer weather

On Thursday, many boys showed up in the skirts to prove a point about the dress code.