This week, the American Medical Association took a stand on the use of photoshop to alter body images. As retouched photos have sent dishonest messages to girls and women, the practice remains a popular editorial and advertising standard. For over 160 years, the American Medical Association has advocated scientific advancement, public health issues, and strengthening doctor-patient relationships. Thus, it speaks volumes that a well-respected organization has taken a stand on an issue often pigeonholed to pop culture.
“We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software,” said AMA board member Barbara McAneny.
While certainly retouched images impact girls and women’s perspectives on body image, it also influences many women of color and their perception of skin color. As skin bleaching remains a common practice, it’s important that the battle against photoshopped images and advocacy for more transparency includes this issue just as well. The AMA is encouraging ad agencies to set stricter guidelines for how photos are manipulated before becoming advertisements. For example, seeing “digitally enhanced” on a photoshopped advertisement or editorial spread might provide a more realistic perspective on body image and the diversity of beauty.
Should advertising and editorial teams take more responsibility for the impact of retouched images on women’s health? Weigh in.