Should Photoshopped Ads Be Completely Banned?

The practice of Photoshopping has long been a topic of controversy, but the idea of altering the images we’re exposed to so drastically as to make them nearly unrecognizable – as well as humanly impossible – has come under increasing fire over the past several months, and for good reason. With even large retailers like Target getting in on the extreme photo editing action, we’re finally beginning to ask ourselves a tough question: should Photoshopping ads be outlawed completely?

There are several lobbyists in Washington who think it certainly should, and members of the Eating Disorders Coalition teamed up with over 50 lawmakers to discuss a new piece of legislation that would accomplish just that. Introduced late last month, the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 would force the Federal Trade Commission to investigate advertisers who utilize Photoshopping as well as the effects the practice has on society and young girls in particular.

As California Democratic Rep. Lois Capps put it, “Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women. And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops.”

That isn’t guesswork, either. Plenty of studies have been done over the years showing a direct correlation between self-esteem in young girls and its relative health in regards to the advertising they’re exposed to on a daily basis. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that the barrage of imagery we see daily – mostly all of which show overly thin, technically “perfect” individuals – would increase the pressure we feel to fit in and achieve the same results. It’s a sad truth and one that will continue to have devastating consequences if we don’t act soon.

While the Truth in Advertising Act may face an uphill climb to gain widespread support – especially when many politicians have financial ties to the large companies that so heavily rely on Photoshopping – it’s a step in the right direction to even introduce such a measure for consideration. Hopefully, with more education and awareness, we can begin rectifying a problem with one seemingly simple solution: ban photo editing in advertising. While such a law wouldn’t single-handedly fix the self-esteem of our young girls, it would certainly lay the groundwork for healthier self-image and allow us to begin establishing a newer, realer version of “normal”.

What do you think? Should we outlaw Photoshopping in advertising altogether?

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