A constant stream of digitally “perfected” ads are taking their toll on our health and self-esteem. The Truth in Advertising Act asks the FTC to investigate and take action. Here’s how you can support it.
What is the Truth in Advertising Act? It’s a bipartisan act that would require the Federal Trade Commission to develop a “regulatory framework for ads that materially change the faces and bodies of the people in them, in order to reduce the damage this type of advertising does to our children.” In other words, we want our government to look seriously at the harmful effects of Photoshop and to put some reasonable guidelines in place to minimize those effects. And you can voice your support by signing this change.org petition, started by dad, activist, and former advertising executive Seth Matlins. As he writes in the petition:
"These ads are weapons of mass perfection and their casualties are stark. 53% of 13 year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies; by the time they are 17, 78% will be. In fact, the 3 most common mental health issues amongst girls — eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem — can be linked to the images they see of themselves in the media. And boys are impacted also, with 16% HS boys suffering from disordered eating.
"When a prescription drug is making people sick, we ask for an investigation. When false, deceptive and ‘photoshopped’ advertising — creates anatomically impossible, fake, and unhealthy images of human bodies — is making our children sick, in the absence of industry self-regulation, the body responsible for investigating deceptive advertising and protecting consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has a duty to step in and investigate what’s making our kids (and adults too) sick."
Why do WE care so much about this legislation? For starters, young people are particularly vulnerable to these “weapons of mass perfection.” Our community is passionate about transforming our media and advertising culture that promotes such narrow and unrealistic standards of beauty. That’s why we launched the Truth in Advertising blog series, personal posts from writers who share their perspectives on how the overuse and abuse of Photoshop has affected them. Here are a few excerpts:
"Every day we view thousands of images, absorbing so much information that we can often forget to filter it in our minds. And what happens with repetition? Acceptance. We have accepted these images to be true. We have accepted these standards of beauty as fact, and unfortunately these standards are impossible to reach." —Diana Rodriguez, “It’s Time to Stop Poisoning Ourselves”
"Being caught up with all of this nonsense back in high school affected me mentally. I still excelled in my grades, but I felt I wasn’t enough because my collarbone wasn’t showing enough, I wasn’t skinny enough. It can get physically exhausting. The media has a part in women developing eating disorders. Harsh to say, but it’s true." —Jaclyn H., “What’s Behind the Lens?”
"We need truth in advertising because it will help women feel less insecure, less ashamed and less self-conscious. It will help with self-esteem and let us feel like, “Hey, even the model is being adjusted and she’s tall and thin. Even she’s not perfect, even she’s not enough, so why even try to be something that in reality is a false advertisement?” This has been a part of the culture now for so long, that this bringing down of the self is almost an instinct."—Marelyne Mendoza, “I Own the Ugly In Me”
"As a young girl, my voice was lost to the sea of low self-esteem and some pretty un-ambitious expectations in regards to my full potential as an individual. Despite all this I found my voice, but not without some help. I want women and girls of all ages to find their voices, too and to understand these unrealistic images are damaging. Because really, who ISN’T affected by them?"—Mary Ruben, “The Consequences of Distortion”
What next? Read the whole Truth in Advertising series and sign the petition to voice your support of the the Truth in Advertising Act (HR 4341).