Nobody likes to be bamboozled. Americans, in particular, don’t like it. That’s one reason we require ‘truth in advertising’.
That’s why our cereal boxes depicting wheat flakes may say, “Enlarged to show texture.” And other products are labeled “serving suggestion” when anything appears in the photo that’s not in the package. There are all kinds of cautionary statements, from “sold by weight” to explain air space in a box to “not actual size” clarifying . . . well, product size.
Restaurants now include calorie amounts on their overhead menus, and nutritional charts are available upon request. We, being well informed consumers (or faking it) want to know the facts about our food, our appliances, our hair care products, health supplements, and makeup. We want to know if there are natural or artificial ingredients. We need to know if there is milk, soy, gluten, egg or nuts . . . or even traces of these; and, for good reason we want to know. Someone allergic may become sick. Someone vegan may throw a fit.
So, when it comes to fashion models and actors like Kate Upton, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Keira Knightly, Olivia Wilde, etc. should a line be drawn about how much their photos can be altered without a claim of false advertising? Or, rather, a claim of questionable influence on consumers, particularly impressionable females?
Drawing such a line has become the subject of a bill being presented to Congress–the anti-photoshop bill. AND some prominent women in the public eye are speaking out against alternations of their images, so-called ‘enhancements’.
Keira Knightly, the stunning actress from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually and “The Chase,” for Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel Paris perfume ads even made a demand that her image not be modified in exchange for her consent to be photographed. [See video below.] (For a movie poster, her image had been manipulated, giving the impression she has larger breasts than in reality. Someone decided that she’d have greater appeal if she was larger up top.)
About the Truth in Advertising Act, here’s an excerpt from a report by InTheCapital:
The use of photoshop in advertising is more than ubiquitous in the 21st century. From fast food ads portraying menu items you’ve never actually seen to beauty products that appear to magical take away every pore and wrinkle while building perfectly high cheek bones, chances are if the advertisement is drool-worthy, it was photoshop that made it that way. The debate over the ethics of this advertising practice is a constant fixture on sites like the feminist oriented Jezebel as well as sites dedicated to building viral content like Buzzfeed. Now the debate is about to get the Washington treatment with the introduction of a new anti-photoshop bill.
Sponsored by Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lois Capps and Ted Deutch, the “Truth in Advertising Act” has just been introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives. If passed this bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to prepare a report on the use of photoshop “in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products.” While it doesn’t propose any bans or regulations regarding the practice of altering photographs, it does open up the issue for debate on Capitol Hill, and as a result has been supported by organizations like the Eating Disorders Coalition and the Brave Girls Alliance.
“Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women,” Representative Capps said during a recent briefing on the bill. “And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops.”
“The link between false ads and eating disorders becomes increasingly clear every day,” Representative Ros-Lehtinen said during the same briefing. “We need to instead empower young men and women to have realistic expectations of their bodies.”
In recent months there have been increased outrage over what has been viewed as “excessive photoshopping,” a term this legislation hopes to define.
Keira Knightley is hardly the first actress to have photographs of her body retouched in Photoshop for magazines and advertisements. Knightley, however, wants to do something about it. Keira recently posed topless for Interview Magazine, and requested that her photos remain untouched in protest of Photoshop editing. Keira is joining a growing movement of celebrities who feel that women’s bodies face too much scrutiny.
Keira Knightly’s protesting of photo enhancing of pictures of herself is catching on. More actresses want to be represented ‘as is’. They want to be perceived as real women. They want to be relate-able. They want to celebrate varying shapes, sizes and colors of women, and the nuances that make each of us unique.
Knightly is not so much being defiant against the industry that made her rich and famous as she is stating that she is hired for her own appearance and talent. She brings beauty, ability and a flat chest, which she prefers be left ‘as is’ in photographs.
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