American Medical Association Speaks Out Against Photoshopped Ad Photos

It’s estimated that 8 million people in the US struggle with an eating disorder, with 95% of them between the ages of 12 and 25, and one of the big reasons may be the aberrant use of Photoshop by the ad industry. The American Health Organization updated its policies earlier this week urging the ad industry to stop the “altering of photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.” Board member Barbara L. McAneny states,

The appearance of advertisements with extremely altered models can create unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image. In one image, a model’s waist was slimmed so severely, her head appeared to be wider than her waist. We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software.

The image she’s referring to is the Ralph Lauren ad shown above, which caused quite a bit of controversy back in 2009. It would be great to see the stigma of image manipulation in the world of photojournalism spread over into the ad industry, at least when it comes to body image.

  • unsilent majority

    The image posted is abnormal to the extreme. . .  it must’ve been retouched AGAIN to accentuate the point of the discussion.

    If the image posed above is the original, then the PS “artist” should find a new job, and the person that accepted the image and the photoshopper should be fired on the spot, for having absolutely no sense of body shape and art, etc etc etc.

    what a croc. . .

  • Ygor Oliveira
  • TheDSLRPhotographer

    This is horrible, so many young people thinking they need to be like that and then starve till death..Know many girls like that, it’s just unbelievable what these magazines can do :S

  • Synthetic Tone

    I think a better effort could be to educate people that celebrities, models, sports stars, and alike are not ideal role models and help them find “genuine” role models. If a person is looking at magazines and TV and comparing it to their bodies, lives etc., then there are some real self-esteem issues that need attention and it shouldn’t be advertising and marketing’s responsibility to help them.

    I agree that image is ridiculous but I find it more ridiculous that anyone could believe that is sexy and real.

  • Rob LaRosa

    As of 2010 about about 31.7% of kids are obese or overweight, compared with 29% in 1999. Clearly not all kids are impressionable.

    I think rather than demanding that the “ad industry” stop altering images the AMA would reach more people making them aware that every image they see in a magazine has been retouched. Kids understand that movies are “make believe” so I’m sure they can learn that ads are also.

  • nicole

    this initiative, although lovely, will not be effective.  i come from 11 years of gobbling cornucopias of food in one sitting, vomiting each calorie until blood and intestinal juices surged from my mouth, safe-proofing with laxative abuse, and starving myself until the next binge and purge episode commenced.  and i just wanted to be pretty.  so, why wouldn’t i see value in this new policy?  please check out my blog entry to read my full opinion.