Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Maeve Eberhardt


body positivity, postfeminism, confidence, ideology, aerie, social media


Body positivity is an online social movement that emerged largely on social media that aims to challenge dominant ideologies and representations of female beauty that can be harmful to body image. The openness of this movement allows for corporate co-optation, where brands attempt to take on the role of a participant. Though seemingly well-meaning, corporate body positive initiatives fall short by their reinforcement of conformity, promotion of postfeminist themes in feminist packaging, and obligated consumerism. This project uses a Critical Discourse Analysis to investigate ideologies within the discourses shared by the intimates and swimwear clothing brand aerie in their posts on Instagram, and incorporates visual (semiotic) elements that act as units of meaning-making in the promotional content. This paper investigates to what extent the rhetoric of aerie’s AerieREAL movement challenges hegemonic beauty standards.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.