Tired of Fake Bodies? Join Us and Sign the Truth in Advertising Petition!

By Grace Manger

We all know the impact unrealistic and unattainable images of the female body have on adult women and body image, but…

Did You Know?

  • 69% of elementary school girls say magazine images influence their concept of ideal body shape

  • Over 30% of high-school girls and 16% of high-school boys suffer from disordered eating

  • 80% of women feel “shame” after reading a beauty magazine

Last week, Congress took a step forward in confronting these frightening statistics. The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 (HR4341) was presented to Congress and calls on the Federal Trade

Commission (FTC) to require any advertising that alters the human body through digital manipulation to be labeled as such. This includes changes to a model’s shape, size, proportion, skin color, etc.

What is “Truth in Ads”?

Truth in Ads

The Truth in Ads Act’s goal is to raise awareness about photoshopped images in the media. Experts, like Dr. Barbara L. McAneny of the American Medical Association, say that comparing oneself to these images– which project unrealistic, manipulated, singular ideals of beauty and size– can lead to negative body image and self-esteem, as well as other emotional, psychological, and physical issues. These consequences particularly affect, but are not limited to, young girls and women. The Act is aimed at holding companies responsible for photoshopping images out of reality as well as raising awareness that we cannot accept media images at face value.

We are not the first to try passing legislation such as this. In March 2012, Israel passed a law requiring a disclaimer be attached to any Photoshopped image. While the law was not without controversy, Dr. Adi Enoch-Levy, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating eating disorders in Israel, said that she hopes now her patients will be able to see different forms of beauty portrayed in the media.

France, Britain, and Germany have all proposed similar bills in recent years with varying degrees of success. In 2010, the French branch of Marie Claire magazine did not use any retouching throughout their April issue to raise awareness about photoshopped images.

In 2011 the AMA adopted a new policy focused on photoshopped images targeted towards youth. The policy was aimed at encouraging advertising associations to work in partnership with organizations concerned with child and adolescent health to develop guidelines for advertisements, especially those in teen-oriented publications.

The topic is clearly gaining momentum throughout the world, and now it is our turn to change the status quo. We have the potential to show the next generation that beauty exists beyond a

The bill would also impact the practice of "whitewashing" people of color in the media.
The bill would also impact the practice of “whitewashing” people of color in the media.

singular definition and hold companies accountable for the misleading images they manufacture and distribute. It’s time to take action!

 What You Can Do

We cannot pass the Truth in Advertising Act without grassroots involvement and support. The Brave Girls Alliance, with the official support of Adios Barbie, is launching the Truth in Ads petition to raise awareness and gain support for the bill. Do you believe the status quo of singular definitions of beauty, skin color, and size is no longer acceptable? Sign the petition and be a part of this landmark legislation. You can also follow the hashtag #TruthinAds to stay updated on our progress!

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