If you lived in Australia not only would you have 24/7 access to Hugh Jackman (or Nicole Kidman for the gents) but you’d have something even better. What could be better than a shirtless Wolverine, you ask? Mandatory airbrush labeling on magazine photos. I’m serious. I’d take truth in advertising over glistening pecs any day of the week. (Rhetorical question: does that make me old??)
Apparently Australia has a law, “the National Media and Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image, which demands labeling of airbrushed images in women’s magazines and the diversification of models’ size and shape.” So anytime a magazine airbrushes a cover model into oblivion it basically has to tell you they are lying to your face. Do you think they make those stickers for kids?
I love this idea. I think that most of us intuitively know that most professional pictures (and many unprofessional shots, even) are photoshopped and airbrushed into perfection. And yet, despite my knowledge, I’ll still look at a horribly unrealistic picture and think “Man, I’d love to have those legs.” But if they were forced to ‘fess up to their tweaks, I really do think it would make a difference in my perception of the picture and my gut reaction to it. I still remember when Jamie Lee Curtis did that photoshoot for More Magazine where she did a before pic showcasing all her lumpy, droopy glory and then showed the 7-hour process of glamorizing her for the final picture that made it on the cover. Despite never having seen a single one of her movies other than Freaky Friday – and heaven help her, I thought she was Julie Andrews the whole time – I love Jamie Lee Curtis.
Other creative types around the world have taken up this message as well. A group of vigilantes in Berlin have been pasting large stickers showing photoshop tools over the top of too-perfect starlets and singers, as pictured here. Not only does it show the familiar clone and smudge tools but according to those who know these things (i.e. computer geeks), they actually replicate the actions obviously taken on the photos. They’re like a modern-day Robin Hood, except cooler ’cause it takes a really secure person to wear tights and tunic in today’s society.
So what do you think? Would it make a difference to you if magazines were forced to admit – on their covers! – when they had airbrushed someone? And how do you feel about vigilante justice of this type? And, be honest now, how many times did you have to look at that Hilfiger ad to figure out what was wrong with it? I think I’m moving to Australia. (I’d consider Berlin but I’ve been there already – too cold, too much sausage. Sorry.)