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France passes law that says Photoshopped images must have a disclaimer

October 3, 2017

France isn’t the first country to legislate on image editing in advertising (Israel did so in 2012), but it’s good to see more awareness on the issue. Fines of €37,500, or 30% of the cost of creating the ad, can be given to those caught out.

Studies have shown that, out of all Western Europeans, French women have the lowest average BMI, at 23.2, and 11 percent of French women are considered “extremely thin.” The new law is aimed at helping to tackle body image problems among people chasing body shapes they can’t hope to live up to because they were faked using computers.

“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.”
— Former Health Minister, Marisol Touraine

As a direct result of the move, American stock photography agency Getty Images will no longer accept photos that show retouched models, with the change now written into the contract of any photographer contributing work to the database. It’s good to see awareness on the issue, because The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that 47 percent of girls between the ages of 10 and 18 feel pressured to lose weight by what they see in magazines, with 69 percent of the same age group having their perception of the “perfect body” defined by images of fashion models. And according to the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life.

Nitro magazine, model before and after
Before and after, Photoshopped model, via

Another French law that took effect back in May 2017 requires all European models working in France to present a medical certificate, and the doctor who signs off on the certificate must pay extra attention to body mass index (BMI). Belgium, Spain, and Italy are among several countries that now legislate the BMI of fashion models.

While a step in the right direction, what I think will make more of a difference is if there’s a change of attitude among fashion designers. If they stop shaping their clothes for size zero, that can only be a good thing.

Via Lee Newham.

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