French politicians have proposed a law that would involve stamping a "health warning" on photographs of models that have been Photoshopped to be more appealing. Would that really solve anything?
Last year, the lower house of French Parliament voted in favor of a bill that would ban "inciting thinness." And earlier this year, it was reported that France has the highest proportion of clinically underweight women in Europe. Meanwhile, Britain's Liberal Democrats would like to ban Photoshopping entirely in ads aimed at those under 16, and require all other ads to carry a disclaimer describing the extent of their alterations.
The new French law proposes that all enhanced photos would be accompanied by a line saying:
"Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person."
Now, we're no fans of overly Photoshopped models around here, but you have to wonder if a stamped warning has enough impact. Much like the "smoking kills" warnings on cigarettes, I imagine this warning would be shocking at first — and then quickly become old hat. Your eyes would end up passing over it, the way they do over fine print. The truth is, visual images have an impact, and a few words on a picture can't keep a woman — or a young girl — from using a Photoshopped image as "thinspiration," a barometer or standard against which to measure herself.
In addition, not knowing how much alteration was done doesn't seem helpful, either. We've been posting "Photoshop Of Horrors" images since this site's birth in 2007, and there are always a few readers who say, "I don't think they changed her nose/waist/thighs… It's just lighting." Take it from someone who worked in magazines for 10 years: "They" change everything.
But all this is not to say that the idea of a warning is a bad idea. Shining a light on the lies we're fed by magazines and advertising campaigns is always welcome. And even if a "health warning" is not enough, it's a start.
Earlier: British Lawmakers Take Stand Against Photoshop
France's Attempt To Ban "Inciting Thinness" Incites Jeers From Some
La Merde Et La Mode
French Women Don't Get Fat (Enough)
Annals Of Anorexia
Photoshop Of Horrors posts