Monday, September 21, 2009

'Health Warning' a positive move for body image

The news this morning reported that French politicians want to stamp a 'health warning' on photographs of models that are altered as part of a campaign against eating disorders.

French parliamentarian Valerie Boyer, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, and some 50 other politicians have proposed the law to fight what they see as a warped image of women's bodies in the media.

"These images can make people believe in a reality that often does not exist," Ms Boyer said in a statement, adding that the law should apply to press photographs, political campaigns, art photography and images on packaging as well as advertisements.

Under the proposed law, all enhanced photos would be accompanied by a line saying: "Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person."

Luxury brands and fashion magazines have also been accused of digitally enhancing models so that they appear thinner, with white teeth, lengthened legs and fewer wrinkles.

Ms Boyer says being confronted with unrealistic standards of female beauty could lead to various kinds of psychological problems, in particular eating disorders.

During the research phase for my book Why Can't I Look the Way I Want; Overcoming Eating Issues coupled with years of devoted work to helping those suffering from eating disorders, I know firsthand that low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness can potentially be exacerbated by unrealistic images of thinness - and this can perpetuate a cycle of self destruction which can lead to the onset of an eating disorder.

I wholeheartedly agree with the proposed 'health warning' and hope this paves the way for other countries to follow suit.

To read the news article go Here


  1. It's fantastic that the French government is thinking about doing this, but I am not so sure if many people realise that Australia has actually lead the way with with the introduction in 2008 of the Victorian Media Code of Conduct - a large aspect of which has to do with making companies take greater responsibility for digital editing techniques. This is soon to be expanded with the introduction of an Australian national code which is a very positive move in this arena again. We really are leading the way here and I actually think it is other countries such as France and and the UK as well that are actually following OUR lead.

  2. Julie, thank you for posting. It's brilliant that the Australian national code will soon be introduced and such a positive move. I read about this in March and eagerly await the announcement!