In what may be the most dangerous and potentially explosive act since the storming of the Bastille, French leaders are taking on French models and declaring war on airbrushing. The French Parliament (and members of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party) is proposing to force magazines and other publishers to print a warning for photographs that have been touched up or photoshopped. It appears that while President Nicolas Sarkozy can insist on only short people appearing behind him to appear taller, the French politicians say “staging Oui, brushing non!” The new campaign for realism has already taken its toll with the untouched up picture on the right of Marianne in La liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People).
MP Valerie Boyer wants a wording that reads:”Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person’s physical appearance.” She notes that airbrushing leads “the stereotypical image that all women are young and slim.”
She insists that “[t]hese photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents. Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age. . . . In some cases this leads to anorexia or bulimia and very serious health problems. It’s not just a question of public health, but also a way of protecting the consumer.”
Boyer, who is a member of the UMP, may want to start with their leader: two years ago, Paris Match magazine “rubbed out” le bulge on Sarkozy. A picture in a canoe showed Sarkozy mysteriously without his love handles. For the original and touched up pictures, click here.
For her part, First Lady Carla Bruni has been touched up more than the Hollywood sign. This may not be such a problem because even love handles sound sexier in French: “poignees d’amour”
Nevertheless, Boyer’s comments have shaken up folks here at Turley Productions. We have strived to lead the journalistic and commentary worlds by example. While I realize that some readers and contributors may be angry and hurt, we believe it is time to come clean.
In the meantime, the French are also moving to get rid of‘La bise’, or the traditional cheek-to-cheek kiss here. The concern is Swine Flu. That would leave a population of chubby, hand-shaking models. You might as well go to Belgium.
For the unenhanced French story, click here.