“No One Looks Like That”; Excessive Photoshop Issue is Brought to Congress

by Isabel Staccuneddu

Sadly, Photoshop exaggeration is old news. “Nobody really looks like that”, you remind yourself every time a commercial flashes an image of an airbrushed-to-“perfection” model.  Although, do we as individuals really have any power to change the marketing industry standard? 

One father says “yes.” Seth Matlins, a former chief marketing officer, has seen his fair share of computer-altered waistlines and falsely whitened skin. Hoping to make a less image-conscious world for his two children, he decided to take a step back from the industry. He wrote this petition on Change.org asking Congress to pass HR 4341, and hold the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accountable for the use of distorted photos for marketing purposes.

The Truth in Advertising Act is a chance to hit Photoshop abusers where it hurts.  This bipartisan bill calls for a report from the FTC to Congress on the use of extremely altered photos in ads. The report would include regulations to prevent such exaggerated face and body images from being plastered on every square-inch of the U.S. The report also must include an official strategy, featuring the input of geographically and culturally diverse experts and advocates, to ameliorate the use of deceptive ads.

Experts assert that constant exposure to flawlessly Photoshopped bodies makes teens feel anything but flawless, resulting in 78% of our nation’s 17 year-old girls claiming to be unhappy with their bodies, and 53% of 13 year-old girls spending their tween years dissatisfied with a body that has only just begun to develop.  

In a win for this bill, Matlins delivered his petition with 28,000 signatures to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.  The muscle behind the bill, sponsor Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and cosponsor Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), respectively, accepted the petition.  The Eating Disorders Coalition and The Brave Girls Alliance also fervently support this legislation. 

We are constantly bombarded with images that tell us we’re “less than.” Less than the prettier, skinnier model smiling from a billboard 10 stories up. Less than your favorite actress smizing on the cover of that Vogue at the dentist’s office. Less than everything society, and Photoshop, say you’re supposed to be. It’s time to shout that we’ve had enough of unrealistic image expectations that tell us that we are unworthy.


Images via: fashiontimes.com, fahv.com, nyc.gov, and examiner.com

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