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The Real Thing: France Requires Photoshop Labels for Models


With debates about fake news now a permanent fixture in the media, conversations about authenticity have become unavoidable. No matter where you look, you must maintain a degree of skepticism in order to survive. You cannot easily differentiate truth from fiction. Yet, traditional news outlets are not the only ones under the radar. Now the fashion world is under scrutiny.

In France, legislation passed that requires Photoshopped pictures of models to be labeled. Any photographs featuring models who have been enhanced in any way must come with a “photographie retouchée” (retouched photograph) notice. Businesses that fail to include the warning face fines of at least $40,000 per photograph.

Labels for Models 1

The move comes at a time when several similar initiatives have been put in place in the country. Proponents of the laws explain that they exist to promote positive body image. When people see models or celebrities in the media, they have no idea if the photos have been retouched. Lawmakers say that negatively affects the way people see themselves and encourages unhealthy lifestyles. France currently has over half a million people suffering from eating disorders, a fact that officials have deemed a public health issue.

France is not the only country cracking down on unhealthy self-image. Israel passed legislation in early 2017 that requires models appearing in print ads to provide medical proof they have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 18.5. Publications that hire them face fines similar to those found in the French law.

Hoping to have an impact of its own, Getty Images has adopted a similar policy. As of October 1st, 2017 the widely used stock image company no longer accepts content which has been digitally enhanced or manipulated. Companies around the world have announced pledges to promote healthier body images, as well.
What do you think? Should companies be legally required to disclose when photos have been digitally retouched? Do you think that doing so can help reduce eating disorders or negative body issues in society?


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