The Photoshop Dilemma

Source: Mirror UK

By: Jasel Layson

It’s a no-brainer that a good majority of people edit their photos before posting to social media. It could be a selfie with a quick FaceTune touch up or making yourself look thinner. Either way, it’s safe to assume that every photo that you scroll through isn’t the original version. If you were an influencer, how would you react if your photoshopped posts were marked as edited?

In some countries, this could be the new reality.

The United Kingdom has introduced a bill that would affect influencers, advertisers, and publishers. They would be required to mark images with a label on photos that have been digitally altered. Dr. Luke Evans, an advocate for the bill, says he has seen firsthand what photoshopped images have done to affect people’s mental health. 

Impressionable teens caught up in comparison culture are usually the ones affected. The proposal aims to remove unrealistic beauty and body standards. Social media is the biggest concern when it comes to the roots of comparison culture.

France already has a similar law in place that fines companies that don’t denote when they use enhancements. These legislations would greatly affect the advertising and Instagram influencer community. What would such a law look like if the United States were to put into place a similar law?

Already, magazines, especially ones that promote health and fitness, could be on blast for publishing photoshopped images. In particular, health magazines using photoshop would not bode well for their readers. The same goes for fashion magazines that promote body positivity, anything edited would deter readers.

Criticism would strike these magazines, especially if they promote being authentic. It wouldn’t bode well for them to have any photos marked edited, especially with models that have the “ideal” body type.

On top of that, advertisers are already limited in the extent in which they are allowed to digitally alter images (per the Truth in Advertising bill)

What would it mean for another law to pass that would actually label images with photoshop? Both for advertisers and publishing companies, there could be potential for consumers to lose their trust in the products or services they buy. No matter how much photoshop a company uses, a photo marked as altered could lead customers away rather than drawing them in. 

Aside from big publishing companies, A-list celebrities tend to alter their appearances. Many of their followers are likely to assume that most changes to a celebrity’s appearance is plastic surgery. Though they can probably tell if a photo is the result of photoshop.

Khloe Kardashian is one celebrity that is under fire for her photo that she posted on Instagram earlier this year. Many believed that Khloe had undergone extreme plastic surgery to look the way she did. In an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” fans realized that she just used extreme photoshop. 

Though there are no current legislations proposed in America similar to the UK bill, could we benefit from one? British influencers have weighed in on the proposal in the UK. Many say that they would support such a law if it passed. 

“To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how this would be enforced, but I am so here for it. I think it would create relief and perspective amongst so many vulnerable individuals who use these images as a benchmark for beauty,” wrote Alex Light in a caption of one of her Instagram posts. Light is an influencer and promotes body positivity.

The bill is still under works but has support from many citizens. The House of Commons will take a look at the bill for a second reading in mid-October. If the law were to pass in the United Kingdom, it paves the way for other countries, perhaps, including the US, to take a second look at proposing a similar bill. 

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