PetaPixel

The Self Esteem Act: Parents Pushing to Pass Anti-Photoshop Laws in the US

A Lancome advertisement featuring Julia Roberts caused a stir back in July after it was banned by the UK for being too “Photoshopped”. Now a couple in the US are trying to bring stricter regulation to the United States. Seth and Eva Matlins, founders of Off Our Chests, have started the Self Esteem Act:

We’re asking for support to pass federal legislation requiring advertising and editorial that’s meaningfully changed the human form through photoshopping or airbrushing to carry “Truth in Advertising” labels. The labels will simply state that the models shown have been altered. No judgments, no morality, just clarity.

[...] Photoshopping, airbrushing, digital manipulation isn’t the issue. The issue is too many look at these images and theink they should look LIKE these images. And they can’t…because they’re not real.

So let’s call a duck a duck and modified picture a modified picture. All we’re asking is that if you do it – you tell us you did.

They’re currently trying to raise 10,000 signatures for the petition, which can be signed here.

The Self Esteem Act (via Daily Mail via Xatakafoto)


 
  • http://twitter.com/JohnMilleker John Milleker

    I’m not a fan of overly Photoshopped images and I’m against creating ‘fake people’ to sell products and services.

    But it comes down to people asking the government to take away yet another job of the parents. Cartoons aren’t real, monsters aren’t real, Julia Roberts isn’t real. Step up to the plate and be a parent, with everything else you *should* be teaching your child, fake advertising tactics should be the easiest of them.

    So I say ‘Carry on and exercise your freedom’ to the photoshop mad scientists of the world, hacking, slashing and to my delight, sometimes ending up on ‘Photoshop Disasters’.

  • Daniella Koontz

    I think this is stupid. Women wear makeup to look better. Should they all wear a sign that says “I’ve altered my face with cosmetics”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Warner/1511135267 Roy Warner

    I <3 you John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Warner/1511135267 Roy Warner

    I <3 you John.

  • Chris

    Totally dumb. We’ll have to ban fantasy works of art, movies and everything else that isn’t 100% reality.

  • Randy

    So if I take out a color cast that is a result of not setting my white balance correctly, do I have to declare it?  Where is the cut-off point?  If I change 5 pixels is that OK, but if I change 6 I have to declare it?

  • Mark

    Hey while their at it maybe they could get a law passed against over processed HDR images too…:)

  • Vic

    Give me a break!

  • Ehrenwells

    I would think of would be less effort if these people just moved to th UK.

  • Dan Mize

    I think you are all missing the point.  The ad is trying to sell makeup, not photoshopping skills.  It’s not the makeup that made her look that good, it’s the photoshop.  It could also be called false advertising.  I’m not saying photoshop should be illegal or need to be pointed out.  I am saying if you’re selling something to make people look better it shouldn’t photoshopped to make the makeup or hair dye seem like it’s doing something that it’s not. I myself don’t publish many shots without some tweaking and I even like messing around with some HDR. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmize/

    I do agree with John Milleker, I make sure my kids know how ads try to sell stuff using some deceiving tactics.  But I feel like this goes beyond even that.

  • SFrank

    Very well said John Milleker.

  • http://openid.aol.com/joejparnell Joe

    Dumbest thing I ever heard.

  • Lightofaction

    YEAH! Communism! The government intruding in the aesthetics of a private company. How is it this world has no personal responsibility? How have we gotten to the point that one persons self loathing, burden for not taking care of themselves or their children has to now create oppressive laws for everyone. I’m so glad for idiot politicians who take money from fashion industry lobbyists and will run this out. What’s next no fake boobs on pornstars? 

  • Constantine Thomas

    Yeah, a lot of people are really missing the point here – this is all about using photoshop to create false advertising of the effects of using their products, and being explicit about how the photos have been manipulated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1469663692 Jason Heilig

    If you’re looking to troll, fark.com’s comment section is thataway ->

  • http://www.eriklaurikulo.se Erik Lauri Kulo

    And at the same time, it comes down to changing the morals of the advertising world. Now this may actually happen because the advertising world has already shown small projects with people who supposedly look “normal”. I don’t think any government should ban a style of photography, that’s ridiculous. But perhaps ad people should take a look at themselves and ask them why they do what they do. 

    Why do we need to lie to ourselves about what’s beautiful and not? The consequences are actually huge on the life of the average middle class person who struggles to be accepted in many ways.

    But that’s a moral question, not a law one. So in the end, I agree with you.

  • http://www.eriklaurikulo.se Erik Lauri Kulo

    If it is indeed false advertising, then the there’s a great possibility you can go to court and sue the company. False advertising is a crime. So there’s no need this type of law – which, if I understood you correctly, you don’t seem to think either. 

    Ad photographers have obscure views of the world and humans. The problem shouldn’t be a law issue, but a reform of the ad world. Someone should show the rest of the industry that the excessive photoshopping is unessential.

  • http://www.eriklaurikulo.se Erik Lauri Kulo

    How did you get the idea that this is communism? This is neo-liberalism at works.

  • Anonymous

    Not sure these two photos are the best example.  The “offending” photo is still clearly Julia. 

  • Andrew Thompson

    Aside from the dangerous restrictions this legistlation could potentially put on a photographers artistic vision and freedom, the bullet points the petition argues with are questionable: 42% of girls grades 1-3 think they should be thinner (America has a childhood obesity rate of about 33% so 3/4 of those girls are correct), 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they’re dieting (Newsflash; dieting and exercise is healthy and makes people feel good about themselves).  I think its more important for parents to explain to their children that eating disorders are never a solution to issues with their self image, and encourage them to pursue activities that will promote self esteem and healthy living (maybe outdoor photography?). 

  • Bret

    Correction: Art Directors have obscure views of the world and humans. Photographers do what their clients want them to do as do retouchers. 

    So, since it’s false advertising to do this, do that mean photographers cannot use soft focus, high key lighting, and over-exposure? For the shot in question, a photographer could do much of the ‘effects’ with said tools. 

    Why is anyone paying any attention to this?

  • http://www.eriklaurikulo.se Erik Lauri Kulo

    You speak as if the photographers have no say in this. But you’re completely off in this case. Ad photographers are mainly proud of their work (and they should be) and are well aware of the photographs they are creating. And famous ad photographers have basically no one bossing them around because they are known for what they do, and respected for it.

    And you’re implying that I limited my argument to Photoshop and Photoshop only. False. I am well aware that there are many tools available to make an image happen. And I’m not even against it – I’m mainly stating my opinion that we have to be aware of the consequences of advertising. If you’re trying to tell me that the immense advertising with thin women and muscular men with perfect skin doesn’t obscure our vision of how we are as humans then you’re simply ignoring a gigantic elephant in the room.

  • Steve

    Maybe they should go ahead and ban make-up, hair dye and fake finger nails while they´re at it! Oh, and what about all these fake over-whitened teeth everyone is getting (no, not the ones whitened in photoshop)? And how about plastic surgery? They should make women with implants wear a “truth in advertising” label pinned to their shirts, right?

    This is ridiculous. It’s nothing more than making excuses for people to not to use their own grey matter to make an educated judgement about what they read or look at. It’s also an excuse for parents who can’t be bothered to educate their own kids. Believe me, when my daughter is old enough, she will know all about the unglamourous reality of models and actresses because my wife and I tell her, not because some legislators think they need impose legislation on an entire industry in order to improve my kid’s self-esteem.

  • Annie_Chan5

    A lot of those things already come with disclaimers that they aren’t real. Why not extend that idea to advertisements?

  • Anonymous

    Any person relying on advertising for external validation has already lost the game. The fault is not in our photoshopped stars, but in ourselves.

  • Annie_Chan5

    I don’t really think this is an issue parents can tackle on their own, though. There’s a whole wide world of social pressures outside the home, and when it comes to a person’s sense of self-worth about their own sex appeal, they’re not exactly looking to mommy and daddy for guidance.

  • http://www.betweenraindrops.com Jamie Weir

    Many of you seem to have misread this.

    The group is not trying to ban photoshopped images.  Their wish is to make it so that there is a label or fine print on the images stating that they have been photoshopped.  

    The same way that cleaning commercials show the person spray, wipe away, and have immediate results.  Those now have to have a small text at the bottom saying “Time lapse” or “Over 15 seconds” or whatever to indicate that it doesn’t actually work like that.  They have to do this, because otherwise it’s depicting that their product is doing something it can’t actually do.

    I dislike the Lancome ad because it isn’t just a matter of a pretty-but-altered model selling a product.  The face of that model IS the product.  The ad gives off the impression that Lancome Makeup will have you looking like that.  This is not true.  And even for those with great parents who will tell them to know such things, it’s still a crappy ad, because now you’re left with “So what WILL these products do for me?  I’ve got nothing to work with here”.

    If it was the exact same amount of post-work done on her, but she was holding a watch and the ad was for the brand of watches?  No problem.  I wouldn’t care about that.  She can be as manipulated as the creators want.  But if the watches were altered to look gold when they are only sold in silver, I would be upset about that.

    To reiterate, this group isn’t trying to ban anything.  If people would like to list their over the top examples of “why not ban these while we’re at it?”, go ahead. It just helps hammer in that you missed a big point of their ideals.  Whitened teeth, finger nails, and fake breasts are all possible.  People can get these if they want them, and there will be effects/results.  None of those effects/results will be looking like that picture in the Lancome ad.  It’s not actually possible, and that’s where their upset is derived from.

    Personally, no matter how great a parent I think I might be (admittedly I’d suck), I’m glad that there are big labels on cigarette cartons showing all the hazards of smoking.  Congratulations to everyone here on being wonderful, informative, and involved parents.  I’ve come to notice over the last few years though, that there are a lot of parents out there that totally suck.  And their kids aren’t going to be learning much thanks to them.  Whether it should be a parent’s job or not, there are many that simply won’t do that job.

  • Beckie

    Since I use photoshop on my images, I have to disagree.  This has always been an issue since Barbie first appeared on the market.  That doll isn’t real either but girls have always wanted to look like her.  I personally have never thought I could look like the people in the ads.  This is something learned and should not be legislated!!!

  • Joe

    ” Photoshopping, airbrushing, digital manipulation isn’t the issue. The issue is too many look at these images and theink they should look LIKE these images. And they can’t…because they’re not real.So let’s call a duck a duck and modified picture a modified picture.”

    Indeed, let’s call a duck a duck and say that too many look at these images with complete lack of critical thinking and no trace of logic. And they can’t because they’ve never been taught the required skills.

    Wouldn’t it be simpler, better and more productive long-term to require schools to provide meaningful education in critical thinking and analysis?

  • Bassred

    There is already a disclaimer on that image. It is an advertisement.  If the image had a banner that stated ‘actual results’, then I can see where there would be an issue. This is quite possibly the most wasteful use of our system of justice that I have ever seen.

    I agree with John, parents should do their job and not rely on anyone else to do it. I put this in the same category as people suing restaurants because the coffee is hot… Absolutely ridiculous.

    I think the government should be left out of our photos, and if you think that you will ever be able to change the attitude/mindset of advertisers, you need to just forget about that. Even this blog post is a waste of data.

  • Lightofaction

    It’s insane to tell a private company to put anything on their product as I believe with cigarettes,  movies, music, alcohol, guns and porn, Unless it’s funded by the government they should stay out, unlike what they did with the banks. Who cares if a bunch of kids get eating diorders, hate themselves. Self loathing is as american as orange chicken. Stop thinking your kid is special, smarter, faster, stronger. You are not unique, you do not deserve protection. Kill your ego and realize your just another animal fighting for resources and non sense like this doesn’t change the fact that one day, yes, even you will die. Bulimia was started before photoshop, and similarly to what I said before I’m glad politicians are scumbags cause I’m sure they are already in the pockets of K Street stooges. 

  • http://www.betweenraindrops.com Jamie Weir

    Do you have a source to cite on that?  Because I didn’t come across a disclaimer on the one I saw.  The only text was:

    “Now, Aura is our science.
    NEW
    TEINT MIRACLE
    Natural Light Creator • Bare Skin Perfection

    A light emanates from the most beautiful skins.  We can reproduce it.
    10 years of research, 7 patents pending, Lancome invents its
    1st foundation that recreates the Aura of perfect skin.
    A miracle of light for a new natural perfection.
    Instantly, complexion appears lit-from-within.  Sublimely bare, truly flawless”

    The other two added parts of text are her name, and the bottle type.  There is no disclaimer to indicate or imply anything else.

    I read that as a statement saying “Beauty has a certain trait (first sentence).  We’ve done some mad science (10 years of research), and now we can create it ourselves (second sentence).

    Nobody is suing anyone here, Bassred.  To say a request for further disclosure on the portrayal of a product is the same as suing for scalding coffee is pretty absurd. (Note:  In the McDonalds case, it wasn’t a matter of the coffee being hot.  It was actually scalding.  Household coffee is in the area of 135-140 degrees.  McDonalds kept theirs from 180-190)

    I would have put it in the same category as demanding a warning label on the coffe cups saying “This is hot”.  I don’t think I need this specific warning, but history has proven people are idiots, so there are others that do.  

    Image source: http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2011/07/28/julia-roberts-make-up-ad-banned/

  • Armando

    Does this mean Fox News has to have a disclaimer too stating these are not facts but opinion?

  • Rob

    Any commercial or professional image is “modified”, whether its the lighting being used or Photoshop techniques. Even most advanced amateurs using Photoshop will “alter” their image from their memory cards. 

    The fact that it’s an ad, should imply the company is trying to sell a product or the perception of what using their product will do for the buyer. These people’s rationale makes no sense. 

    Is there the potential for too much “modification”? Yes, but in the instances where this has happened–such as making celebrities and models much thinner than they are–the public has easily noticed and shown outrage, which in itself leads most magazine editors and art directors in the end to self-regulate. 

    Taken to it’s extreme, should there then be regulation for commercial or advertising images that are trying to sell something have disclaimers that the model had changed her hair color, had a boob job, had botox treatments…  

    I wonder if back in the day the great painters were accused by the public of “modifying” the subjects in their portraits? Or, when poster art was more prevalent in advertisement images if the artists were pilloried for “modifying” their subjects? This is ridiculous!

  • Dan Mize

    I don’t agree with a law being created for this specifically, I feel like our justice system has a hard enough time to keep up with the laws we currently have.  Sadly it seems the only laws that get enforced are the ones that make a company more money anyway.  I do however think this is an issue.  I think that many companies do this and they should be held accountable in some form.  Like you said a reform of the ad world.  I agree that parents should be teaching their children about the make believe crap in the world but not all parents do that.  I agree that something needs to be done, I just don’t think it should be legislative.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306356 Eric Kraynak-Marinelli

    Although people intellectually realize that media images are usually photoshopped and not entirely real, who actually consciously thinks that when looking through a magazine or watching TV? No one. Over time, people really do internalize those images, and it can really negatively affect how they view themselves. Now, I know this issue involves intimate feelings about your body and caring about how other people view themselves, which comes across as a very negatively-connotated “feel good” idea to many of you, but it is truly important. And if you still don’t care, well, hopefully you can feel fulfilled if your daughter cuts herself with razor blades because she has such self-esteem issues.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306356 Eric Kraynak-Marinelli

    Although people intellectually realize that media images are usually photoshopped and not entirely real, who actually consciously thinks that when looking through a magazine or watching TV? No one, teens and adults alike. Over time, people really do internalize those images, and it can really negatively affect how they view themselves. Now, I know this issue involves intimate feelings about your body and caring about how other people view themselves, which comes across as a very negatively-connotated “feel good” idea to many of you and makes you feel tough and dominant to say that people’s self-esteem doesn’t matter, but it is truly important. Do you really want to support something that causes people to hate themselves? Do you really think that makes America a better place? Presumably, when you think of what you want for America, you want things that enhance people’s well-being, right? You don’t support your political party on the basis that they will reduce the country’s well-being! Also, I think perspective is important here. Putting a TRUTHFUL statement at the bottom of an ad is really, really not a big deal. People hating themselves is.And if you still don’t care, well, hopefully you can feel fulfilled if your daughter cuts herself with razor blades because she has such self-esteem issues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306356 Eric Kraynak-Marinelli

    Although people intellectually realize that media images are usually photoshopped and not entirely real, who actually consciously thinks that when looking through a magazine or watching TV? No one, teens and adults alike. Over time, people really do internalize those images, and it can really negatively affect how they view themselves. Now, I know this issue involves intimate feelings about your body and caring about how other people view themselves, which comes across as a very negatively-connotated “feel good” idea to many of you and makes you feel tough and dominant to say that people’s self-esteem doesn’t matter, but it is truly important. Do you really want to support something that causes people to hate themselves? Do you really think that makes America a better place? Presumably, when you think of what you want for America, you want things that enhance people’s well-being, right? You don’t support your political party on the basis that they will reduce the country’s well-being! Also, I think perspective is important here. Putting a TRUTHFUL statement at the bottom of an ad is really, really not a big deal. People hating themselves is.And if you still don’t care, well, hopefully you can feel fulfilled if your daughter cuts herself with razor blades because she has such self-esteem issues.

  • Lightofaction

    Hey, with out late teens with low self esteem how will I ever get any? I think there should be a law enforcing the use of photoshop. The world is so messed up anyway who cares. Take photoshop away and something will fill it’s place. You still have shitty parents, television, movies, we should also take CGI out of movies I don’t want some kid thinking he is an idiot cause he can’t figure out a warp drive, or how to get into a dream with in a dream. 

  • Halibut

    John is quite obviously not a parent.

    In my experience almost *everybody* who has strong opinions on how and what you should be teaching your kids has no kids of their own and has a completely worthless opinion.

  • James

    Communism?  Really dude?
    Just back from a Tea Bagger rally and needed to vent I guess?

  • Rob Lindman

    If women would just go on diets, exercise, and become super hot — all the time, they wouldn’t have to feel bad by comparison to the Photoshop goddesses. But, we’re a sensitive society, and we need to cater to the needs of the whiny, so, here’s my idea: let’s just ban anyone who is more attractive than you from ever appearing in the media. And, since we know, we need to be fair to both genders… it makes little boys feel inferior, the fact that they don’t have super powers. So, we need to have a law to ban Superman from being on TV. Because it made Billy cry when he tried to fly and he couldn’t. How dare they?

  • hornerinf .

    Next thing you know….jazz musicians will not be allowed to improvise. This is about control, not about self-esteem. If you think pictures of models and celebrities change your opinion of yourself, you have bigger issues than a piece of software.

  • Nick Boyer

    EVERY picture is photoshopped or edited that is in a professional environment. EVERYONE should know that.
    NOBODY is beautiful all the time.
    EVERYBODY is beautiful sometimes
    NOTHING the government enforces should control self-esteem or would even work