A proposed bill in the United Kingdom would make it so influencers, broadcasters, publishers, and anyone who is paid to post on social media would be required to display a logo on any digitally-altered photos of people.
The Digitally Altered Body Image Bill has been proposed by Conservative parliament member (MP) Dr. Luke Evans and is designed to help address the growing number of people who struggle with eating disorders and confidence issues, Sky News reports.
Body Image Issues are a Clear Problem
Evans notes that it is estimated that 1.25 million people are suffering from anorexia or bulimia in the United Kingdom, and that number is growing. Over one million people use steroids or image-enhancing drugs.
Last year, the Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry into body image found that concerns about the way people look “start younger, last longer, and affect more people than ever before”, with 61% of adults and 66% of children feeling negative, or very negative, about their body image “most of the time”.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in five adults and one in three teenagers report they feel shame about their bodies, and nearly 20% of all adults feed “disgusted” when it comes to their body image.
If an image has been edited for commercial purposes, or if somebody with considerable influence has edited an image they are being paid to post, I believe that the image should carry a disclaimer. (2/4) pic.twitter.com/Udq7c8HYBA
— Dr Luke Evans MP (@drlukeevans) January 12, 2022
“When I was a General Practioner (GP), particularly young women with eating disorders would talk about the fact they’re driven by these images and think they need to have a perfect physique,” Evans tells Sky News.
“But you started seeing it from men, often talented sportsmen who wanted to get bigger, to look buff on the beach, so they’d start overtraining and taking unsolicited supplements but then they find themselves banned from sport because they’ve tested positive for steroids just because they thought they didn’t ‘look right,'” he continues.
“I’ve got no problem with people aspiring to be fit and healthy, but not in a warped sense that we can never achieve.”
What the Digitally Altered Body Image Bill Would Do
According to a statement on Evans’ website, the bill would require advertisers, broadcasters and publishers to display a disclaimer in cases where an image of a human body or body part has been digitally altered in its proportions for commercial purposes. This disclaimer would be similar to the “P” symbol for product placement, for example, seen on commercial television in the UK.
“Quite simply, if someone is being paid to post a picture on social media which they have edited, or if advertisers, broadcasters, or publishers are making money from an edited photograph in any form, they should be honest and upfront about having edited it,” Evans says.
The proposed bill appears to have cross-party support and Evans formally presented it to parliament on Wednesday.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.