In Proposed Campaign Against Eating Disorders, France Mulls “Health Warning” for Fashion Photos

healthwarningNote: This is a cross-post I did today at WeAretheRealDeal.com

According to a recent report, French politicians want to stamp a “health warning” on photographs of models that are altered (i.e., Photochopped) in order to make them more appealing. This is part of a campaign against eating disorders.

You can read the brief article verbatim after the jump.

PARIS (Reuters) – French politicians want to stamp a “health warning” on photographs of models that are altered in order to make them more appealing; part of a campaign against eating disorders.

French parliamentarian Valerie Boyer, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, and some 50 other politicians proposed the law to fight what they see as a warped image of women’s bodies in the media.

“These images can make people believe in a reality that often does not exist,” Boyer said in a statement on Monday, adding that the law should apply to press photographs, political campaigns, art photography and images on packaging as well as advertisements.

Under the proposed law, all enhanced photos would be accompanied by a line saying: “Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person.”

Digitally enhanced photographs have been at the center of a string of scandals; two years ago, Paris Match altered a photo of Sarkozy to remove chubby love handles.

Luxury brands and fashion magazines have been accused of digitally making models look thinner, enhancing their breasts, whitening teeth, lengthening legs and erasing wrinkles.

Boyer said being confronted with unrealistic standards of female beauty could lead to various kinds of psychological problems, in particular eating disorders.

Breaking the law, proposed last week, would be punished with a fine of 37,500 euros ($54,930), or up to 50 percent of the cost of the advertisement.

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While I think most consumers know that photos are retouched, all too often, we’re swayed by these images.

So I do think the French government is on to something here.

To me,  it’s almost like when you see a warning on a packet of pills, or on wine bottle. It’s a message you can choose to heed, or ignore. In this case, the warning would be telling you “what you see isn’t real.”

I think it’ll be interesting to see if this law passed … and it would be even better if the fines were donated to a non-profit similar to the National Eating Disorders Association (if one exists in France) for advocacy efforts.

How about you? What do you think about this move by the French government? Should the American government follow suit? Do you think other European nations will?

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3 thoughts on “In Proposed Campaign Against Eating Disorders, France Mulls “Health Warning” for Fashion Photos

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