While, to those in the know, retouching and Photoshop are a mainstay tool of the fashion and marketing industries. From a quick nip and tuck to an entirely new body, the Photoshopping tendencies of so many brands has now become so laughably obvious that is meme-worthy. Woe betide the models that suddenly lose a limb, grow an extra finger or find they no longer have a bellybutton.
As many also know, Photoshop and retouching is incredibly dangerous; creating a false sense of reality that many younger, naive readers can take as gospel. Alongside teenage insecurity, images of pore-less, glossy haired, Amazonian supermodels can dramatically chip away at body image, confidence and how a young girl values herself.
Previously magazine readers have had no way of knowing how images have been retouched (despite the previously mentioned gaffes that result in endless online mirth). But now new French legislation is now changing the game.
The legislation degrees that French magazines must mark which images have been retouched. Discussing the matter the French minister of social affairs and health Marisol Touraine described the danger that the new law hopes to prevent: “Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem.”
The new legislation also works to protect the well-being of models who are now required to have a medical certificate, valid for up to two years, confirming their general physical well-being and the fact they are not excessively underweight.
While the law was passed in 2015 it is only now coming into effect. If it will have any positive changes on extreme thinness in the fashion industry, the rate of eating disorders in France at large and for models, and self image in general is yet to be seen. Given that France, and Paris, is the traditional home to fashion this change is a move to a better, healthier future for the industry.
Words: Esther Newman