As of January 1st 2012, models who want to work in print ads and runway shows in Israel needed to provide potential employers with medical proof certifying that they have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 18.5.
This was nicknamed “the Photoshop law” because of an additional regulation placed on advertisers requiring clear labeling on ads featuring digitally-altered images of models. The law requires any ad agency to disclose if photos of models underwent Photoshop alteration to make the subjects appear thinner.
In December 2011, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in the U.S. ruled an ad for CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara featuring singer Taylor Swift misleading and Procter & Gamble permanently discontinued the advertisement. Just five months early, in July 2011, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned two magazine ads produced by L’Oreal featuring supermodel Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts on the grounds of being misleading, exaggerated and overly airbrushed.
The magic of Photoshop and other digital-alteration programs is truly amazing. And the perfect complexions and clean lines, the beautiful faultless backdrops and enhanced lighting make the glossies look amazing. But what this law gave the world, was a chance to enjoy those “enhanced” images, whilst being informed that they are not real. The illusion is then broken and the ideal that is causing so much harm on girls around the world becomes just a fantasy in print. But on the catwalk, however, there is another issue.
If you remember, the Madrid Fashion week was the first of the major events to ban size zero models in 2006, causing an uproar.
Adding to this here in the UK 80% Brits say ban under 16, size zero models; 79% say average size models would sell more clothes. And a YouGov poll showed:
- Almost eight out of ten people also feel that designers would actually help, rather than damage, their business if they were to use more averaged-sized women in catwalk shows.
- 80% of British people say that fashion designers should not be allowed to use models under the age of 16 in catwalk shows
- Just 14% say that they should
- 80% say that ‘size zero’ models should not be allowed to be used
- Compared to 13% who say that they should
- Similarly, 79% say that if fashion designers were to use more average-shaped women in their catwalk shows, it would help them, and they would sell more clothes
- While 9% say that using average-sized women would damage designers as their clothes look best on slim models
- 7% chose neither of these options (while 5% don’t know)
Bringing all this up to date, and the prompt for my post is this article published by the US Notre Dame university as the author, Professor Krawitz, is advising the Australian government to follow the lead of Israel. And I agree with her. To paraphrase her, when impressionable people “see photos of models who are unhealthily thin or that were ‘Photoshopped’, it can increase the dissatisfaction with their own bodies. They may also believe that the ‘Photoshopped’ images that they see are real, because they see the images so often.“
And what this has done is to prompt the increase in profile of natural beauty. Verily magazine, for example, never alters the body or face of its models. It’s goal? To celebrate the best of who you are. And they state this clearly, that they will never Photoshop a model. And I applaud them for that.
I will end by saying that Abode Photoshop is just a tool and not inherently good or bad. It allows photographs to be enhanced one way or another. The software though has become a verb that even made the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and one with negative connotations: