France Now Requires Labels On Photoshopped Ads, Are We Next?

Life & Culture Writer

Everyone loves some bad photoshop. There’s nothing like the uncanny valley of a famous actor or (usually) actress whose face has been smoothed into a little thumb with hair. *cough* Melissa McCarthy on the poster for The Heat *cough* Or, celebs who do a little touch up on Instagrsm, only to leave the walls around them wiggly like a reflection in a fun house mirror. But, it’s the photoshopping you don’t catch that creates unrealistic and unhealthy expectations, and France is passing laws to alert people to the use of retouching.

As of Sunday, October 1, a new French law is in place. It states any models in commercial photography who have been made to appear thinner or thicker by image processing software have to include a statement declaring the image retouched, or “photographie retouchée.” Anyone who opts to flout this law can be punished by a fine of $44,000 or more, or 30 percent of the cost of the advertising.

This isn’t the first time France has taken a stand against unhealthy depictions of the human body. In 2015, they responded to criticism of unhealthily thin models by requiring every model who wanted to work in the country provide proof from a physician of a healthy body mass index. Since then, Israel, Spain, and Italy have passed similar laws, though we in the states continue to resist.

We Americans are getting onboard with the photoshopping law to some extent, as Getty Images is refusing to accept any creative content “depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger,” representative Anne Flanagan told NPR. The move was inspired by the French legislation and Getty will not be removing existing edited images. Instead, they will be labeling them.

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