Morning raves; hotel-group fitness; Photoshop faces the law
no more fake thigh gaps and spaghetti limbs? US lobbyists looking to safeguard women’s self-esteem are hoping to get The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 (also known as the AntiPhotoshop Bill) passed into law. It aims to stem the flow of highly Photoshopped and drastically altered fashion and beauty images used in the media. In the UK, such laws already exist and advertisers have come under fire for using ‘mutant’ images in their campaigns, such as mascara adverts where the model’s eyelashes have been digitally lengthened. But while these restrictions have been implemented in the public interest, their power to stop advertisers from misrepresentation is yet to be proven. If found guilty of these practices, advertisers may have to pay a fine. And even if they get some bad press, many battle on until their next Photoshop scandal (any publicity being good publicity?). It seems a worthwhile risk for them to take.
Those in support of the bill believe that the media images we see diminish our self-esteem and glamorise an ideal that is unattainable for most women. While this is a noble and necessary cause to back, I am still unsure whether simply implementing laws opposing such actions is worth anyone’s time or money. These ads and images should be monitored, the parameters of ‘excessive Photoshop’ must be decided on and, if it comes to it, magazines should be required to issue disclaimers on which images have exceeded the legal Photoshop limits. Editorial and advertising spreads are, however, inherently intended to sell viewers and readers a dream; to allow them to suspend reality while flipping through their pages. In some ways aspirational and in others unattainable, realistically we cannot look to them as personal goals to try to recreate. And when we do, legislation won’t teach us how to love ourselves. I do appreciate the importance of not letting a deluge of altered images alter our sense of reality, but ultimately the onus is on us to rely on our ‘inner critic’ when viewing the imagery around us. A healthy dose of skepticism always goes a long way.