If your daughter happens to open a Teen Cosmo anytime soon, she’ll be bombarded with tips on “getting a white smile for prom,” finding out “Kim Kardashian’s hair secret,” and learning to “dress for her body type,” be it Apple, Pear, or Slim/Athletic.
She’ll also see image after image like the one to the right, of women who are already unusually tall and thin and have been made to look more so. (In fairness to Filippa Hamilton, she requested and received an apology from Ralph Lauren for airbrushing her waist practically out of existence.)
So it’s great news that the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a leading mental health body based in London, is calling for some institutionalized changes to media representations of beauty. Coinciding with London Fashion week, the college issued a call for a warning symbol on photos that have been airbrushed, to alert readers that what they are looking at does not exist in real life.
Citing evidence linking the media to eating disorders, the college also urged the British government to set up a forum of mental health experts, politicians, and media representatives in order to implement widespread change in magazine content.
According to Dr. Adrienne Key, of the college’s eating disorders unit, “The aims of the forum should be to collaboratively develop an ethical editorial code that realistically addresses the damaging portrayal of eating disorders, raises awareness of unrealistic visual imagery created through airbrushing and digital enhancement, and also addresses the skewed and erroneous content of magazines.”
Sounds like a pretty vital, commonsense measure to me. If only we could get a similar reality check in the U.S.
Photo: The Independent