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Old 4th December 2009   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 441
Default Re: Ads ruin body image (report)

An important article on this topic appeared just the other day in the New York Times:

It covers a French legislator who, commendably, wants warning labels put on all images that have been airbrushed:

VALÉRIE BOYER...has also created a small furor here and abroad with her latest proposal: a draft law that would require all digitally altered photographs of people used in advertising be labeled as retouched.

It is a topic that consumes her. “If someone wants to make life a success, wants to feel good in their skin, wants to be part of society, one has to be thin or skinny, and then it’s not enough — one will have his body transformed with software that alters the image, so we enter a standardized and brainwashed world, and those who aren’t part of it are excluded from society.”
Yes, brainwashing - exactly. The images promoting emaciation are so commonplace, so universal, that whole generations of women have been brainwashed into thinking that starvation is normal, or (insanely) somehow "attractive."

It is also encouraging to hear the voices of those who say that simply providing warning labels is not enough:

Philippe Jeammet, professor of psychiatry at the Université Paris Descartes, said it “is the least we could do.” He said that photos “are a factor of influence, especially for the most vulnerable young girls.” He would go further. “There should even be sanctions,” he said. “Retouched photos are a deception, an illusion, and we must think about the consequences.”

I find the other effort that Boyer has proposed to be even more important:

Ms. Boyer drew attention last year when she drafted another law, which would make the promotion of extreme dieting a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of some $45,000. That law is largely aimed at Internet sites and blogs advocating an “anorexic lifestyle”...

“Children look a lot at the Internet,” she said, adding, “even if you’re close by, even if you’re attentive, even if you love them a lot, that’s not enough to protect them. Especially when they target them, because [these] blogs are aimed at young girls in particular..."

That is also an especially important point - to those who claim that parents should just "monitor" their children, such monitoring is NOT POSSIBLE. The Internet is everywhere. Short of living like the Amish, there is no way that parents can screen their childrens searches 24/7, and protect them from the harmful pro-starvation influences on the Web.

Ironically, the best statement in the article comes from one of Boyers supposed critics:

For [Dominique] Issermann, the problem is not photography, but a “prepubescent style” — a kind of adolescent androgyny, in which skinny, not very muscular young men are paired with skinny, not very curvaceous girls “disguised as women.”
YES! Exactly. This style IS the problem - but photography is the accessory to this problem, because it facilitates this style and brings it to the public.

Both the androgynous style, and any photography or airbrushing that promotes it, should be eradicated, as a matter of basic public safety.

At least Boyer realizes that the fashion industry will NEVER police itself, never stop spreading emaciation, and that only government regulation can stop this toxic epidemic. I hope both of her proposals, about banning airbrushing and criminalizing the promotion of starvation, pass, and become law - not just in France, but in all Western nations.
MelanieW is offline   Reply With Quote