Psychiatrists back plans for airbrush kitemarks

The Royal College of Psychiatrists released a report today backing the Liberal Democrats’ calls for airbrushed images to be ‘kitemarked’.

Commenting, Jo said:

“The Royal College of Psychiatrists makes it crystal clear that airbrushing plays a harmful role when it comes to negative body image and eating disorders.

“Airbrushing has a really damaging impact on people’s self-esteem and that’s why we’ve called for a labelling system.

“Making sure children are taught to be media-savvy and getting ads which feature unrealistic, unattainable images to have a kitemark will be a real step forward.

“I’m meeting with the Advertising Standards Authority today to press these issues.”

Jo and Lynne Featherstone MP will today meet with representatives of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to press them on what is being done to tackle these serious issues. The Liberal Democrats have been calling for airbrushing to be labelled as part of their Real Women campaign.

The Liberal Democrats launched their Real Women campaign in August, which encouraged people to send complaints about airbrushing to the ASA, and resulted in almost 1000 people asking the ASA and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) to force advertisers to come clean when using airbrushed images and to ban airbrushing in adverts aimed at children. This resulted in the ASA ruling that the Olay advert featuring Twiggy was ‘misleading’.

A recent Liberal Democrat commissioned report by the world’s leading body image experts contained scientific evidence showing how the use of airbrushing to promote body perfect ideals in advertising is causing a host of problems in young women such as eating disorders, depression, extreme exercising and encouraging cosmetic surgery. The paper revealed that:

  • Body dissatisfaction is a significant risk for physical health, mental health, and thus well-being. Any factor, such as idealised media images, that increases body dissatisfaction is therefore an important influence on well-being
  • Negative effects occur in the clear majority of adolescent girls and women in over 100 published scientific studies on the impact of thin, ‘perfected’, media images on girls and women
  • The evidence from many studies documents that ultra-thin and highly muscular ‘body perfect’ ideals have a detrimental effect on women and men
  • Adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to body perfect images
  • A subscription to a fashion magazine increased body dissatisfaction, dieting, and bulimic symptoms amongst adolescent girls who had low levels of social support
  • Curbing the impact of idealised media images leads to improvement in body image and body-related behaviour

The Liberal Democrats have approved policies to:

Protect children from body image pressure by banning digital retouching in advertising aimed at under 16s

Ensure adverts aimed at adults indicate clearly the extent to which they have digitally retouched people

Teach modules on body image, health and well-being, and media literacy in schools

Ensure Models at London Fashion Week have health certificates from an eating disorder specialist

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