Photography site Getty Images is banning images of women's bodies that have been manipulated with the use of Photoshop and other post-production software following the upcoming French law that aims to protect models' wellbeing.
The law has two parts, the first of which went into effect back in May, where models are required a doctor's note to prove that they're healthy prior to undertaking any work in France. The latter kicks in from October 1st, which will make photographers, retouchers and their publishers label images as 'photographie retouchée', or 'retouched photograph'. This will mean that everyone from fashion brands to magazines will have to clearly mark images whereby a woman's body has been digitally altered (or otherwise changed). Sadly, the law still allows wiggle room for retouching of the skin, hair colour, nose shape and a few other details.
Speaking in support of the law, France's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine said: 'Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour.'
With a company like Getty leading the campaign against Photoshopped bodies, it would be unlikely for their competitors to not follow suit soon, whether it be following similar ruling to the laws in France, or a total ban of edited bodies. Joining forces with those against the unrealistic beauty ideals that retouched bodies perpetuate would have a direct effect on the type of imagery that is used throughout the media and, subsequently, the way in which we consume them.
Talking to The New York Times, S. Bryn Austin - director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders at Harvard's School of Public Health - said: 'France is saying to the fashion and advertising industries that it's time they acted responsibly toward the people on whom their livelihoods depend.' He then added that he thought that the policy is 'one step closer to stemming the well-documented psychological harm these [Photoshopped] images cause, especially to young and vulnerable consumers.'
Slowly but surely, change is coming to the media's perception of beauty, and we're certainly hopeful that governments and corporations continue to work towards dismantling the problematic aspects within society's framework.
Founder and Editor of The Unedit