Green Room

Feeling fat? Let’s regulate airbrushing, say UK advocacy groups

posted at 4:32 pm on August 4, 2010 by

I’m going out on a limb here: Were I to be in a magazine photo shoot in anything other than a burqa, well, anything…I’m going to demand some airbrushing.  I’d be perfectly fine looking like an idealized digital self on the remote chance I’d have to bare skin for something. Granted, it irks me slightly that already thin models are whittled down to even skinnier proportions.  But, I simply consider that part of the beauty industry.  Much of it is fake, right down to the false eyelashes I’m considering for the company Christmas formal this year.  Plus, I know I’m not actually forced to contemplate Gisele’s physique in Cosmo, am I?

But, what if I weren’t okay with the manipulated images of models and starlets we all ogle from time to time?  What if my self-esteem were so fragile that I wanted to end all false “advertisement” on those glossy covers to relieve my body-angst?  Maybe we could create a Body Image Czar to monitor female self-worth and regulate airbrushing!

Ridiculous, right?  Not going to happen…except it might.  In the UK.

Long known as the vanguard of the Nanny State Movement, the current Equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone, said last month that she wanted to see an end to airbrushing, or at least the addition of a disclaimer indicating that an image has been doctored.  No worries though, advertisers.  It’s not a mandate, just friendly advice, reports the BBC:

She said she had “no desire to impose regulation or restriction on advertisers or others” and hoped they’d make changes to their practices on a voluntary basis.

Why does that fail to convince me, Lynne?  Might it be because so many “good intentions” somehow end up in the law books these days?

Considering this cause has been gathering steam from fem-advocacy groups and scout organizations like Girlguiding UK, is it feasible such legislation could be on the horizon?  Well, yes:

Ms Burnley said: “We know how profoundly they feel the pressure to conform to a particular body image and how badly they can be affected by these unobtainable ideals.

“We are proud to support the calls of our members who believe that it is time that the prime minister addressed their concerns and acted in the interests of girls and young women across the country.”

Some 20,000 Guides currently taking part in an annual camp in West Yorkshire are being encouraged to sign a petition calling for David Cameron to introduce a law forcing magazines to inform readers when photographs have been airbrushed.

Because really, Cameron doesn’t have other pressing issues to deal with besides the hurt feelings of girls who probably could stand to have their own mothers address their body issues instead of relying on the government to nurture them.  It’s exhausting having to constantly remind people what the role of government is and…isn’t.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a time when the Brits were known for their good sense?

Ah well, that’s across the pond.  It isn’t as if things that happen in Europe ever inform our own politicians and policies.  This kind of government intrusion into our personal lives would never happen here.

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Were I to be in a magazine photo shoot in anything other than a burqa, well, anything…I’m going to demand some airbrushing.

And I’m going to demand the untouched photos.

MadisonConservative on August 4, 2010 at 4:55 PM

And I’m going to demand the untouched photos.

MadisonConservative on August 4, 2010 at 4:55 PM

…for blackmail, undoubtedly!

Your motives are…suspect. :)

Bee on August 4, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Stop griping, it’s for the children… That makes everything okay.

Laura Curtis on August 4, 2010 at 5:32 PM

This is a perfect companion to the story about a help wanted ad in England that had been refused posting on the grounds that it said they were looking for ‘reliable people’ … and that of course, discriminates against unreliable people.

I used to think equality had positive connotations before the government starting using it to micromanage every aspect of people’s lives. In this case, the Brits will enjoy becoming equal to women that apparently have issues with how they view themselves.

One day, it is my hope that we will all be as equally damaged as the most fragile, maladjusted and generally insensible people in society and we can count ourselves fortunate that the government will make sure of it through regulations and helpful messages plastered all over our consumer products.

Heralder on August 5, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Well, Featherstone is onto something there. I’ve finally realized that the reason I’m not more gorgeous, skinny, brilliant, and rich than I am is that I’ve been ruined — ruined, I tell you — by all the deceitful airbrushing I’ve been subjected to in the magazines all these years.

Someone ought to have to pay me a lot of money in damages.

Meanwhile, I figure I’m doing the world a service. The Apocalypse can’t come until I’ve lost 20 pounds and gotten the den cleaned up.

J.E. Dyer on August 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM