Warning: Airbrushing Kills

There’s been a good amount of controversy in recent years over standards of beauty portrayed (and fetishized) in the fashion & marketing industries. From the skeletally thin models on Fashion Week runways, to the Dove/Axe controversy, there’s no shortage of buzz about how popular media can often negatively affect the body image and self-confidence of […]

There’s been a good amount of controversy in recent years over standards of beauty portrayed (and fetishized) in the fashion & marketing industries. From the skeletally thin models on Fashion Week runways, to the Dove/Axe controversy, there’s no shortage of buzz about how popular media can often negatively affect the body image and self-confidence of young women. But very little has actually been done about the issue besides the occasional rant in the blogosphere.

Now WWD reports that the British Fashion Council may be working with London magazine editors to put a warning label on airbrushed photographs. Citing the fact that airbrushed images in fashion photography (and advertisements, we might add), play a major role in perpetuating an “unachievable aesthetic,” several groups are working together to assess options for dealing with what’s become a pretty grave societal problem.

In December, the BFC [British Fashion Council] said it wrote to the PPA [Periodic Publishers Association], the British Society of Magazine Editors and the Advertising Association in the U.K. to suggest what the BFC calls “a voluntary code covering the use of digital manipulation [in photography].” A BFC spokeswoman said Tuesday that no guidelines had been drawn up governing the magazines’ use of airbrushing. She suggested that rather than limiting magazines’ use of digital manipulation, publications could instead be asked to declare if an image had been altered.

Could this turn into another case of overregulation like the FCC on primetime television? Or is it a necessary step to combat a real – and growing – issue in the media?

WWD: Picture Imperfect

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