Warning: Real Life is Not Airbrushed

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — A group of French politicians led by an expert on eating disorders wants to put warnings on airbrushed photo spreads in magazines as well as doctored shots in used in advertisements and packaging.

Eva Herzigova was one of eight female European celebrities to appear on the cover of the April issue of French Elle magazine without makeup.

Eva Herzigova was one of eight female European celebrities to appear on the cover of the April issue of French Elle magazine without makeup.

While magazine publishers will surely balk at such a rule, the language being proposed appears to be quite mild, nothing like the graphic warnings put on, say, cigarette packages in many countries. Ms. Boyer, according to The Telegraph, said the wording should read: “Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person’s physical appearance.”

Interesting proposal. I’m not sure I think legislation of this sort is a fantastic idea, but I think it’s the kind of move that has to be made before serious discussion can begin. So it’ll be interesting to watch what world dialogue begins as a result of this proposed ruling.

4 thoughts on “Warning: Real Life is Not Airbrushed

  • It’s interesting to think about. On one hand, magazines have shifted a lot in recent years by moving away from models on covers toward celebrities on covers, which I think is a positive change. On the other, I don’t know that we need to blame one industry alone for any body dysmorphic disorders. Our mothers have a lot more to do with our attitudes toward weight, beauty, and perception because we’re exposed so much more to their attitudes about their own body.I like the discussion, though.

  • I agree that it’s more likely to be about a series of inputs, including ads, but yes, also including family and a lot of other factors that can’t so easily be regulated.

  • Magazines in the US have periodically presented models "without retouching." Which has been disingenuous as they then expose the photos and pose and light the models – who aren’t nearly normally sized – in such a way that they don’t need to be retouched.Which is to say that societal change on presentation of body image and value would be nice, but I don’t know that there is a market or regulatory solution – only a personal one.

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