Seth Matlins is on a crusade, and the Photoshop gods are on his hit list. The former ad exec is taking his Change.org petition calling for government regulation of airbrushing in advertisements all the way to Capitol Hill. With the support of Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL) and Lois Capps (D, CA), he will present the Truth in Advertising Act (over 20,000 signatures strong) at an event on Wednesday to put pressure on congress to do take action. The Federal Trade Comission will receive their own copies as well.
The petition says the extreme amount of Photoshoppping that's become commonplace these days fosters "false and unrealistic expectations of what our kids can and should look like." It's part of the reason young girls especially are so unhappy with their bodies, they argue. The petition says that 53% of 13-year-old girls say they're unhappy with their bodies, a number which jumps to 78% once those girls are 17. While they neglected to provide an actual source for these figures, the numbers don't seem at all unrealistic.
Matlins has been working on the Truth in Advertising Act for nearly three years, and as a former ad man, is well aware of how advertising affects consumers. "Beyond influencing what we buy, advertising sells attitudes, expectations, values and so-called norms,” he says.
We know too well how Photoshop can ravage an image of a person–erase their pores, chop off their limbs, even change them into a completely different person. Tom Ford recently came out to support the use of Photoshop in spreads and campaigns saying, "A photograph used for advertising is no longer a photograph of a person. It’s an image…it’s not meant to be the exact replica of the person." While Ford has a point, the problem is that these images aren't interpreted under the lens of artistic license when a teenage girl sees them in a magazine. The fact of the matter is, people actually think they're supposed to look that way, and that something is wrong with them if they don't. It doesn't seem as if it would stifle a designer or brand's vision if they were legally obligated to take that into consideration.
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