Should Excessive Photoshop Use in Ads Be Banned?
We see it everyday. Crazy thigh-gaps, smooth and flawless skin, gleaming hair, and bright eyes hooded with lashes that could shade a picnic table. Images upon images of people who already won the genetic lottery are then digitally altered to perfection and often physically impossible proportions. If the average consumer isn’t in-the-know, these misleading images — often used to sell something — might be accepted as an accurate portrayal of the human form.
Target was popularly criticized for its photoshop fail showing a teen swimsuit model with a digitally edited crotch/thigh-gap and unnaturally extended arms. The photo has since been removed from the website.
Check out the hilarious Ellen DeGeneres spoof of the fail on her show here.
Are these images misleading or even damaging to the uninformed public? Especially to vulnerable children and teens? Several studies link the exposure to such images with psychological and medical issues including eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. Now, Congress has proposed a new bill with intentions to regulate the use of images that have been altered “to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.
The Truth in Advertising Act (H.R. 4341) is a bill co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lethinen and Democratic Rep. Lois Capps that demands a plan be set forth to regulate excessive Photoshop use in advertisements. Read an excerpt of the bill below:
Congress finds the following:
(1) Advertisers regularly alter images used in print and
electronic media to materially change the physical
characteristics of models’ faces and bodies, often altering the
models’ size, proportions, shape, and skin color, removing
signs of ageing, and making other similar changes to models’
(2) An increasing amount of academic evidence links
exposure to such altered images with emotional, mental, and
physical health issues, including eating disorders, especially
among children and teenagers. There is particular concern about
the marketing of such images to children and teenagers through
distribution in teen-oriented publications, advertising
displayed in public places outside the home, and online media. …
Read the bill in full here.
What’s your opinion of the new bill? Should digitally altered images used in ads be regulated by the government or is this a step too far?
*If you suspect that someone you care about is struggling with self esteem, poor body image or an eating disorder, professional help is available. Call Dr. Jamie Long 954.391.5305 or find other qualified professionals via Psychology Today’s comprehensive database. Also, consider NEDA for more information and eating disorder resources via its website and helpline: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org, NEDA Helpline: 800 931-2237.
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