French Ads Will Now Have To Say If Something Has Been Photoshopped

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by Rebecca Cope |

How many times have you wondered if an image has been Photoshopped? Or heard a celebrity berating their changed appearance in an ad? Now, France has become the latest country to pass a law demanding transparency over retouching - with any image that has been altered being required to carry the stamp 'photographie retouchée'.

The move is a reaction to increasingly unrealistic representations of female bodies in ads - with extreme thinness being a particular concern in France. Many believe that exposure to these kinds of images is damaging for people at risk of eating disorders, with tens of thousands suffering from anorexia and bullemia in the country.

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'Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behavior,' Health Minister Marisol Touraine said.

Anyone found to be publishing an image without the appropriate label could be fined €37,500 (£33,000) or 30% of the cost of creating the ad.

The move has been met with postivity by many activists, who argue that although it may seem simplistic, making it explicit that something is Photoshopped will help change attitudes.

'Ads sell more than products,' said Jean Kilbourne, author of Deadly Persuasion: Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Power of Advertising. 'They sell values, they sell images, they sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success, and perhaps most important, of normalcy. To a great extent, they tell us who we are and who we should be.'

This isn't the first move by the French government to help tackle the nation's cultural obsession with thinness. Earlier this year, it announced new rules that stated that models needed a doctors note with a healthy BMI to work, while some fashion houses have banned super skinny models altogether.

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