Bill regarding Photoshop use in advertising needs to be a priority

The debate regarding the extent of appropriate use photoshopping in advertising is not a new one, but a group is pushing to make photoshopping guidelines a legal issue and require organizations to report on the use of Photoshop.The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 is a bill that would be a tremendous help to the media industry. It would hold organizations accountable for the damage that they have created by constructing ideal women and men using Photoshop.

We should respond and inform our government representatives that this bill is a priority for us as voters.

The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on March 27. It was sponsored by the author of the bill Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, which means that she wrote the bill and also introduced it to the floor of the house. Ros-Lehtinen is a Republican representative for Florida's 27th Congressional District. The Eating Disorders Coalition, who is lobbying the bill, does not take issue with advertisements themselves, but with the alteration of the bodies within the advertisements, according to article from Time Magazine. The problem remains that companies purport that these bodies are real and attainable, if a person uses, wears, eats, or tries their product. Presenting something that is impossible as attainable is false advertising.

The goal of The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014l is to “direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to submit to Congress a report on the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted,” according to the actual text of the bill, found on GovTracker.com.

In short, Congress would require the FTC to report when people in images have been digitally altered in ads or other promotions. This bill would force business to be held accountable and would be helpful to our society.

“Members of the Eating Disorders Coalition met with over 50 lawmakers about the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014…which they say could prompt the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the impact digitally retouched images have on society,” according to an article from Time Magazine.

The bill links the use of Photoshop and altered images to emotional, mental and physical disorders, particularly for women and young girls. Young girls do not realize how altered the images that they see are compared to the originals. Altered images create an unrealistic and often physically impossible ideal.

“Several research studies have found that higher exposure to beauty and fashion magazines increase the likelihood that young girls will develop negative body image and eating disorders,” according to the Times article.

Now is the time to respond. We should let our representatives know that The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 is a priority. While we have been raised to believe that the media presents truth, it is now the time to hold them accountable for their falsehoods.

Whitney Carter

Columnist

Contact Whitney Carter at wcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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