French Lawmakers Want Warnings on Airbrushed Photos

Proposed Bill Targets Magazines, Advertising; Violation Carries a $16,000 Fine

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A group of French politicians led by an expert on eating disorders wants to put warnings on airbrushed photo spreads in magazines as well as doctored shots in used in advertisements and packaging.

Eva Herzigova was one of eight female European celebrities to appear on the cover of the April issue of French Elle magazine without makeup.
Eva Herzigova was one of eight female European celebrities to appear on the cover of the April issue of French Elle magazine without makeup.
According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, 50 French members of parliament are behind the bill, which had its first reading last week.

The legislation's chief proponent is Valerie Boyer, author of a report on eating disorders and a member of the same party as President Nicolas Sarkozy, who himself has seen his love handles airbrushed by Paris Match. His ex-model wife, Carla Bruni, is also likely no stranger to a retouching.

While magazine publishers will surely balk at such a rule, the language being proposed appears to be quite mild, nothing like the graphic warnings put on, say, cigarette packages in many countries. Ms. Boyer, according to The Telegraph, said the wording should read: "Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person's physical appearance." Mrs Boyer said she wanted a fine of more than $16,000, or as much as 50% of the ad campaign's cost.

Mrs. Boyer, who penned a government report on anorexia and obesity, added: "We want to combat the stereotypical image that all women are young and slim."

There is some evidence that publishers are concerned or at least aware of the impact of Photoshop. French Elle's April issue featured photos of models not wearing makeup that weren't retouched in any way.

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