French toast: Indian ad community supports legislation of no Photoshopped models

The new legislation is part of the French government's move to restrict fake and unhealthy portrayal of beauty and to combat eating disorders

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 4, 2017 8:28 AM

The French are always one step ahead when it comes to setting exacting beauty standards. And now, the country has set another example for the world to follow...
While most of the countries allow for digital altering of professional photos of models, in France it’s now a different story altogether The country has announced a new legislation which states that commercial photos of models made to look thinner with the help of digital editing must be labelled “photo retouched.”
This new legislation is part of the French government's move to restrict fake and unhealthy portrayal of beauty and to combat eating disorders that is prevalent the world over. According to reports, some 600,000 youngsters are thought to be suffering from eating disorders in France, including 40,000 people suffering from anorexia. Eating disorders are the second leading cause of death for 15-24-year-olds, after road accidents.
“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour,” Health Minister Marisol Touraine told the BBC.
With the new legislation in effect, failure to comply with the new law comes with a fine of more than $44,000 or 30 per cent of the money spent on advertising. The heartening news is that more countries are joining the campaign to regulate the body image projected by the fashion industry especially in Belgium, Spain, Israel and Italy. It must be mentioned that few years ago Israel became the first country to pass laws banning stick-thin models and regulating the use of Photoshop and image editing in media and advertising. 
Speaking about the announcement of the new regulation and whether India should also adopt a similar approach, Anusheela Saha, Group Creative Director, FCB Ulka, said, “In this day and age we have come to accept image-doctoring on a magazine cover or a larger than life billboard. But an unrealistic body image has much deeper repercussions than just a perfect body size on display. What France has done is remarkable. There is no merit in heralding a ‘size zero’ or a fundamentally unreal and unattainable body size. I would have cheered for the change louder had it also banned retouching of dark skinned models, we like our Priyanka Chopra’s hues a bit toasted! As she is in real life! Nevertheless, it’s a big change and sooner this trend spreads to our part of the globe, the better it is!”
The new legislation by France has already prompted leading image libraries take stock of the situation. Getty Images, one of the largest online stock image repositories, has already announced new regulations concerning its creative content. The service said it won’t carry “any creative content depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.”
Underling the need for such regulations Azazul Haque, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Bangalore, explains, “It’s a very valid legislation. Lot of brands are misusing images to further their promotion. I believe that one should take permission before publishing such work and also do it responsibly. Using Photoshopped images is absolutely illegal and not ethically right.”

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