Monday, September 28, 2009

Banning faux beauty

French politicians want to make a clear distinction between real women and their perfectly tanned, wrinkle-free, thin, big-busted counterparts known as the goddesses of Photoshop.

News sites and blogs this week have been reporting that France is proposing a law that would force advertisements to put a disclaimer on all photographs of models that have been digitally enhanced.

Like this photo of Jessica Alba. Where did her waist and hips go? Her knees were shaved down as well.

Or this one of Madonna, whose skin is smoother and shinier than any newborn baby I have ever seen.

French parliamentarian Valerie Boyer, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, said that images like the ones above “make people believe in a reality that often does not exist.”

The proposed law is part of a campaign against eating disorders. Politicians who support the law believe that airbrushed and altered images give adolescents a warped, unrealistic and unhealthy view of what beauty is. They say that when faced with these unrealistic standards of body image, adolescents can develop psychological problems, like bulimia and anorexia.

Under the law, all photographs retouched must provide a health stamp that reads “Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person.”

If advertisers don’t abide by the law, they would be fined 37,500 Euros ($54,930), or up to 50 percent of the cost of the advertisement.

The British are also considering a similar law that would ban all Photoshopped ads aimed at children under 16 and a disclaimer for those aimed at adults.

Would laws like these fatten the almost non-existent line between reality and fantasy? Is it necessary? Should a similar law be proposed in the United State?

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