In an increasingly photoshopped world it’s about damn time that a company got called out for setting an impossible standard of beauty. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK did just that when they banned two L’Oreal advertisements featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.
Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson heralded the ASA’s decision, pointing out the blatantly obvious correlation between unrealistic advertisements and the rapid rise in eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction. She suggested that re-touched ads contribute to self confidence and body image issues, which may be the cause of the increased amount of eating disorders reported in the past 15 years and the fact that in the UK, half of the young women between the ages of 16 and 21 would consider plastic surgery.
Unfortunately an advertisement cannot be banned simply for the fact that it induces low self-esteem and feelings of self-loathing in the 99.99% of the population that lack access to professional make-up artists, hair stylists, personal trainers, and plastic surgeons. Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said that they are only allowed to ban an advertisement if is overtly misleading, harmful, or offensive. In addition, if questioned, advertisers must be able to provide proof of the amount of “re-touching” that has been done to the photos in the advertisement. In this case, L’Oreal couldn’t (wouldn’t?) produce the documentation.
In response to the ban L’Oreal choose to stand by their declaration that the use of their products will in fact make your skin look like Julia Roberts’s skin, but were deliberately vague when asked to comment on how exactly a liquid foundation can perform such a seemingly impossible feat.
Read more at BBC News