Anorak News | The call to ban airbrushing is a stupid attack on free speech and dumb kids

The call to ban airbrushing is a stupid attack on free speech and dumb kids

by | 30th, April 2012

TODAY, Rachael Johnston, an anorexic once given just 48-hours to live, has launched a petition to ban the use of airbrushing to make woman look flawless and thin in magazines and other organs. She tells the Mail (a paper that is no fan of woman’s natural looks):

“It wasn’t until later that I realised what an effect these images can have and how they affected the things I did or felt.”

The Press Complaints Commission Editors’ Code states: “The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.”

The Mail says:

But this clause has been widely ignored by the magazine industry…

And not just the mags. You can see the best / worst photoshopped moments here.

Back to Rachael’s petition, which runs:

“Children and young people are being increasingly exposed to airbrushed images in the media and in adverts. These images give a false representation of beauty and thinness. Altering photos to make them look better, means children are subjected to completely unattainable images. Youngsters under 16 are the most vulnerable to body image and body identity security, with children as young as 10 associating being happy with being attractive. By banning airbrushed images that target the under 16s, it would let the UK become the leading nation in giving the next generation positive and healthy messages through the media. Compulsory lessons on body image would also help improve how young people see themselves and make them aware of airbrushing in the media.”

The idea of making body image a compulsory lesson is madness. Advertising is a free-speech issue. Why should free-speech be further curtailed? Johnston potrays the kids as docile, slacked-jawed fools who know nothing unless they learnt it in a classroom from someone who knows best. See, kids, theses photoshopped models are liars. Listen to Miss and Sir, they know the truth. Do not be so easily influenced, kids, do as Miss and Sir say. Johnston just wants to swap what she sees as one kind of tyranny for another.

In 2009, the LibDems wanted airbrushing banned and all photos “retouched” clearly labelled. The LibDems wanted the UK Advertising Standards Authority to act. Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson said:

“If advertisers think that someone as beautiful as Twiggy needs to be so heavily airbrushed, then what hope is there for the rest of us? Experts have already proved that airbrushing contributes to a host of problems in women and young girls such as depression and eating disorders. Liberal Democrats believe in the freedom of companies to advertise but we also believe in the freedom of women to be as comfortable as possible with their bodies. They shouldn’t constantly feel the need to measure up to a very narrow range of digitally manipulated pictures.”

The ASA said it had never received a single complaint. And no matter that Twiggy might have enjoyed looking better, preferred it, even, Swinson knew best.

Her view was that it’s about the ads. Those big corporations are corrupting the naive kids, for whom – get this – the changing body is part of growing up. It might be better for Johnston to petition for the government to stop turning the fat into social pariahs. The message that fat is bad is drummed in on TV shows like The Biggest Loser and by governments of all hues. Whereas being fat was once a sign of being jolly and fun it now marks you out as victim, an anti-Olympian and a drain on the taxpayer.

Lastly, know this: the kids know what’s going on. They are not stupid. The web is full of images and stories exposing airbrushing. Here are a few examples. Take them for free. Lesson over:



Posted: 30th, April 2012 | In: The Consumer Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink