Concerned that girls and women feel excessive pressure to live up to the digitally Botoxed and liposuctioned images of human perfection they see in glossy magazines, lawmakers in Britain and France are trying to push advertisers to get real.
Under their proposals, ads containing altered photos of models would be required to carry disclaimers.
“When teenagers and women look at these pictures in magazines, they end up feeling unhappy with themselves,” said Jo Swinson, a British member of Parliament from the Liberal Democratic Party.
The Liberal Democrats, the third-largest party in Britain, after Labor and the Conservatives, adopted Ms. Swinson’s proposal for a labeling system this month as part of their official platform. The party wants to ban altered photos entirely in ads aimed at children under 16.
In France last week, Valerie Boyer, a lawmaker from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, introduced a similar bill in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.
She argued that altered images were undermining young women’s ability to control their own destinies. “These photos can lead people to believe in realities that, very often, do not exist,” she said.
In France, where the advertising posters in pharmacy windows can border on the obscene, there is growing concern about eating disorders, and many young women are obsessive in their pursuit of thinness. Ms. Boyer previously championed a bill to ban Web sites that seemed to encourage anorexia and bulimia. But that proposal has languished after being approved by the National Assembly last year.
In her quest to rid the media of misleading images, Ms. Boyer wants to go even further than the Liberal Democrats in Britain. Her bill would require warning labels on retouched photos published for editorial purposes as well as those in print ads. Violators could face fines of 37,500 euros, or almost $55,000, or up to 50 percent of the cost of an advertisement.
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