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Advertising hones in on insecurities about self-image and targets desire for perfectionism, even though common sense would say that no one can be perfect. That’s where the Truth in Advertising Act steps in. The bipartisan act would require the Federal Trade Commission to monitor advertising having to do with the faces and bodies of models. Although the act’s wording includes protecting children from the damage caused by images altered by photo editing programs, even adults fall prey to desiring the slim, muscular stature and wrinkle-free skin of models, as portrayed in advertising. The Truth in Advertising Act petition seeks to protect consumers from the false impressions of unrealistic beauty created by photo editing.
Spearheaded by a father and former advertising executive who says the standard of “mass perfection” created by false advertising is creating a sickness in society as real as a physical illness, the Truth in Advertising Act seeks legislation to investigate and regulate advertising. He says that photo editing creates “anatomically impossible, fake and unhealthy images.” With a digital change in color and lighting and specific cropping, photo editors can create false ideals. The resulting feelings of inferiority or desire for ridiculously thin bodies by consumers could lead to eating disorders and/or substance abuse.
At present the Truth in Advertising Act is under study by a government committee, which will consider sending it to the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate for further consideration. More than 14,000 people have signed support of the petition, including a coalition of eating disorder groups and child advocates. Supporters want health and business experts to work alongside the Federal Trade Commission in finding ways to reduce the significant alteration of human images. “Our young people should be taught to lead healthy lifestyles, not to conform to advertiser’s fake idea of beauty,’’ said Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Florida Republican who introduced the bill.