France mulls law to prevent retouched ads

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Advertising

French politician Valerie Boyer is targeting the beauty industry with a proposal to the country’s national assembly to regulate retouched advertising images.

Boyer’s proposal demand that any images enhanced or retouched using software such as Photoshop should carry a warning clearly stating that changes have been made.

The politician, who represents the city of Marseille, has made it a personal crusade to fight what she refers to as misleading media advertising campaigns that portray both men and women in an unrealistic light.

Realities that do not exist

“These sort of images can condition people to think they are realities, which all too often just don’t exist,”​ Boyer states in her proposal to the national assembly.

“Advertising shots of people showing that their bodies have been modified by computer software should be accompanied by the mention: ‘This photograph has been retouched to change the appearance of the person’s body’”,​ the document also states.

It goes on to suggest any image that is published or broadcast and is retouched to enhance physical appearance without the suggested health warning would receive a fine of €37,500.

Proposal is far from becoming law

The proposal is a surprise to many as the French beauty industry is internationally renowned for its use of highly stylized imagery to promote personal care and cosmetic brands.

Boyer has been a staunch and long-time campaigner in this field, and in the past has fought to underline her belief that the beauty industry plays a part in contributing to women’s negative self image, which has in turn been linked to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

The proposal has the backing of 50 other French politicians, who have all signed the document, but there is still a long road ahead for the proposal to become law as it has to be approved by the national assembly, before going on to the senate.

Beyonce whiter than usual?

The issue of retouching came to the fore in the beauty industry in August last year, when it was claimed that a publicity image of Beyonce used by L’Oreal in one of its campaign had been retouched to make the pop star appear whiter.

Before and after images published by the entertainments website TMZ purported to show the difference, demonstrating that Beyonce’s skin had been lightened for the shot used in the promotion.

The claims were quickly refuted by L’Oreal and were not followed up by any court action.

Related topics Market Trends

Related news