Airbrushing Controversy: Let’s Demand Realistic Beauty

On the heels of the American Medical Association (AMA) voting to discourage advertisers from heavy retouching of photos - especially in ads targeting teens - comes another retouching controversy in Britain. Two advertisements for L'Oreal owned products have been under scrutiny by the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for excessive airbrushing of photos featuring, by any standard, two of the world’s most beautiful women - Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.

Images from the respective L'Oreal ads

Now, setting aside for a moment the fact that ASA-style regulation might not fly in the United States, due to First Amendment concerns and our greater resistance to government regulation, it does seem that the AMA and the ASA are zeroing in on the same message: Advertising can negatively affect female body image and consumers need to demand more truth in advertising.

Roberts on the red carpet

Roberts and Turlington are already more beautiful in middle-age than many of us have ever been or can hope to be. Photo-shopping images until these women look more alien than human is silly. (I mean, seriously, does anyone believe that these forty-something women have NO wrinkles?) Now, American doctors - who see adolescent eating disorders on a regular basis - are saying it’s dangerous.

A more natural looking Turlington

Ladies, we need to tell the purveyors of our favorite beauty products that we want to see positive, realistic images of beauty in their advertisements.

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