View Full Version : Banning airbrushing (article)

2nd April 2008, 17:02
Have you heard about this? It's a small sign of emerging sanity in dealing with a sociopathic industry. There is talk of instituting a ban on airbrushing -- and heaven knows, it's about time.


Here are the relevant portions:

...magazines are now facing curbs on the extent they can airbrush pictures of celebrities amid concern that it encourages young girls to ignore the health risks of trying to attain a waif-like figure.

Magazine editors have agreed to meet with their trade association to agree a code of practice for the use of airbrushed photographs. Among those expected to attend are Alexandra Shulman of Vogue, Lorraine Candy of Elle, and Kay Goddard of Hello! Representatives of leading publishing houses and the fashion council will also attend.

The summit, for which a date has yet to be agreed, is in response to an inquiry by Baroness Kingsmill last year, which concluded that airbrushing could “perpetuate an unachievable aesthetic”.

Her report provoked the British Fashion Council (BFC) to ask the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA), which represents 400 British publishers, to form a working group in an attempt to curb the use of digitally enhanced images...

Susan Ringwood, the chief executive of eating disorders charity, Beat, said: “I think a message should be placed by an airbrushed picture saying that it has been digitally enhanced. However, it would make a big difference if airbrushing to make supermodels look slimmer was just not allowed at all.”

The first real criticisms of airbrushing came in 2003 when Kate Winslet, famous for defending the appearance of fuller-figured women, appeared waif-like on the cover of GQ in 2003. The magazine’s editor was forced to admit that the images had been “digitally altered.”

Ms Winslet’s enhanced picture in GQ came as a particular surprise, as the image accompanied an article where she questioned the attitudes of woman who equate beauty and sex appeal with being thin.

“So why is it that women think in order to be adored they have to be thin? I just don’t understand that way of thinking... I’m certainly not a sex symbol who doesn’t eat,” Ms Winslet said.
Whatever happens with regard to airbrushing in general, the most important and best decision that could be made is what Susan Ringwood suggests: to ban airbrushing that makes any model or actress look thinner. That should be instituted across the board, for every media image of any kind.

It could help the plus-size industry in unexpected ways too -- e.g., encouraging the use of younger, more genuinely attractive models, rather than older models whose images have to be airbrushed into unreality. This could give plus-size fashion the younger vibe it needs to raise the self-esteem of younger curvy girls.