A picture of a wrinkle-free woman with a perfect body advertising skin cream and suggesting you could look the same may be too good to be true. Such ads have led Arizona lawmakers to consider a bill requiring disclaimers to alert consumers that such pictures are in fact manipulated.
The bill, its sponsor concedes, has little chance to pass, but the hope is to raise awareness of body issues that women and girls face as the result of such advertising.
“We just wanted to bring it to the table and start the discussion,” Rep. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat from Phoenix, told the Arizona Republic. “We need to bring attention to these body-image issues, especially with young girls. Girls need to know that they don’t have to look perfect.”
If enacted into law, a disclaimer would have to appear on the ad that “postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved.”
The idea for the legislation came from the local YWCA, Hobbs told the Republic, which was inspired by an effort in Britain to label manipulated photographs. The effort in the UK failed when the advertising industry fought the changes.
In the U.S., the Arizona bill is the first known attempt to require labeling of manipulated images, said Clark Rector, vice president for public affairs of the American Advertising Federation.
“If a photograph is manipulated to the point that it becomes deceptive or seems to be offering something that is untruthful, there are already laws to take care of that,” Rector told msnbc.com. “To disallow any kind of Photoshopping or manipulation would go a long way toward doing away with all sorts of special effects that have nothing to do with enhancements.”
The bill, House Bill 2793, was expected to be debated in the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
Hobbs was not immediately available for comment.
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