Arizona Legislator Moves To Bar Airbrushing Of Models

Arizona Democratic state Rep. Katie Hobbs (shown right in an unairbrushed photo) has tackled what she considers a pressing issue of the day: airbrushing of models to make them look perfect. She wants to require that any advertisers airbrushing models impose the following disclaimer prominently on the ad: “Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved.” That is a bit of a buzz kill.

Hobbs is working with the YWCA of Maricopa County on the bill and Hobbs insists “I’ve worked on women’s issues a lot and this bill is primarily intended to highlight issues that women have with body image and how advertising plays into that.”

Such a bill would raise serious constitutional questions, but it is unlikely to pass. The question is whether this is appropriate legislation and good policy. I understand the problem of young girls trying to meet impossible standards of beauty. However, the solution is reaching out through educational and social programs — not limiting the expression of others. Whether it is body builders or models, young people often have images that are artificial or unattainable. We cannot legislate our way back to the recognition of Rubenesque beauty.

For full disclosure, I admit to some airbrushing on this site. The picture to the left is one that I have often used, but my untouched picture to the right does have some significant differences. I apologize for those bloggers who have developed dysfunctional eating habits or lifestyles. We regret the practice.

Source: MSNBC

23 thoughts on “Arizona Legislator Moves To Bar Airbrushing Of Models”

  1. I suppose a woman with breast enhancements would have to tell as well…..what if a guy got his….of never mind….I think this law will cause what is said…Unintended consequences….

  2. “I’d rather see this framed as a consumer protection issue, i.e. truth in advertising, than a self esteem issue.”

    I see an even larger problem with other products that affect women’s “body image” by altering their true and natural appearance to conform to patriarchic and tribal ideals.

    Of course, I’m talking about make-up and plastic surgery which need to be banned for the same reason that airbrushing of models need to be banned – their detrimental effect on the self-image ideals of young women.

    Deodorant comes to mind also – the notion that there is something wrong or undesirable about the natural aroma of a person’s armpits is an idea that truly stinks.

    And what about the patriarchal taboo on the natural and wholesome effect of gravity on women’s mammary tissue? Brassieres are the Victorian equivalent of Japanese foot binding. The effect of years of gravity pulling down on women’s breasts is the natural and beautiful outcome of the human condition. Yup – bras have got to outlawed as well.

  3. This bill was inspired by the sad case of one of her fellow congressmen who applied ManTan tanning lotion to his face and it turned his skin orange. Permanently.

    The horror….the horror….

  4. Actually, a closer look shows that the bill (in its current form) would require a disclaimer even when inanimate objects are altered, not just people.

  5. In the abstract, requiring disclaimers for some ads makes good sense (e.g., if I advertise an acne cure with photo-shopped before and after, a disclaimer makes sense). The bill, however, does not seem so narrow and it appears that it would require a disclaimer for an ad where a model is standing next to cars for sale (if the model’s photo had been altered).

    The bill and related information can be found at

    I share the concern of some that this is sort of a time waster, but much of what government does is so (IMO).

  6. Went in dumb, come out dumb too…
    Hustlin round Atlanta in her alligator shoes..

    -Rednecks by Randy Newman from Good Ol Boys album.

    It is just like those dog shows on television. They wiggle those shows onto Animal Planet and expect the rest of us to consider it dog art. Here are all these schmucks drying dogs with hair dryers and spraying their fur with hair sprays. Fluff em up a little bit Buckwheat! So, us dogs are mad as hell about it. If this lady legislator from that sand and cactus state that puts out the likes of McCain and the finger pointin Governor could jump on the dog wagon for us dogs then we would be most appreciative. Ban Westminster Dog Show! Make it a law.! Ruff.

    Please forgive my absence for the next couple of days. The wizard who works for the NSA and services my Dogalog computer device which interprets wimpers, grunts, growls, barks and yipes into not so plain English on the computer screen is here and says that he needs a new part. rowalff.

    Just a DogTalkin.

  7. I’m all for it. Why not. We have a warning on cigarettes and these air brushed bods are pushed to feed similiarly addictive manners. This really isn’t a ‘Womens’ issue. It’s a people issue. Young men and boys face the same issue of self esteem….and airbrushed 6-packs and blah blah blah. The bigger problem is that women have less societal protection from men and boys with low self-esteem battering them as objects for being less than perfect. The FBI recently chaged thier internal definition of ‘Rape’ to be a more realistic reflection of the damage that people can do to each other when usary becomes more prevalent and practiced than rights. Perhaps our Governing bodies can at least attempt to recognize(in kind) that they will acheive more by enforcing current protections without political/religious/personal/and market prejudice in the way of a civil society…unless that really isn’t the point….which as I watch the olitical discussions unfold I believe is closer to the truth….it just ain’t the point….

  8. With the “aspirin between the legs to prevent pregnancy”this seems like a breath of fresh air.:=)

  9. Mike said, “I’d rather see this framed as a consumer protection issue, i.e. truth in advertising, than a self esteem issue.”


    And what Mike S. said too.

  10. If I remember the common law concept correctly advertisers were expected to and therefore allowed to exaggerate their products via “puffery”. Where it becomes of a concern is if material harm results from these exercises in “puffery”. I don’t think that negatively affecting women’s body image, as distasteful as that messaging is, can clearly be shown as the proximate cause of advertising to the extent that it overcomes this old standard. The right of females to be equal to males in all respects is definitely under attack by misogynists, yet this legislation doesn’t advance the cause because it allows the trivialization the issue.

  11. It was introduced by a democrat, so it will never pass anyway. I disagree with the bill because it limits artistic expression. Yes, these are impossible images to live up to for anyone, but so are melting clocks on rocks. Let’s call it art, talk to our children about real life and move on. Arizona’s got plenty of other stupid, stupid bills going through the legislature(and likely to pass) that worry me far more than this one.

  12. I’d rather see this framed as a consumer protection issue, i.e. truth in advertising, than a self esteem issue. If advertisers are able to use photomanipulation to make their products appear more effective/useful, as in hair/skin products, or to change them in a more material way, as in clothing, then I see it as just the same as if, for instance, Dell lies about the technical specifications of a computer to make their product appear better.

    It may seem funny at first, but I think everyone would want to see a realistic representation of a product in the ad and on the label when they decide to make a purchase.

  13. Well, one thing is for sure that she is not part of the GOP war on women. Curbing domestic violence and helping the homeless seem to be her main areas of interest. Don’t think she is an airhead.

  14. The Arizona Legislator is an airhead with an overly airbrushed cranium.

    What next, the outlawing of perfectly painted portraits?

  15. I’m so glad someone realized this important issue and is willing to tackle it!! Hopefully Arizona will deal with this so they can move on to the few less pressing issues the state can address!! What a relief!

  16. Are there constitutional issues with requiring warning labels on tobacco and alcohol products? This seems to be a truth in advertising issue to me — basically a “your mileage may vary” requirement. It does not seem to be a constitutionally significant limitation on speech.

    I agree that school curricula and good parenting should include body image and consumer awareness issues but I do not think the proposal is worthy of ridicule.

  17. Actually I am strongly in favor of this sort of thing. Not just because of the beauty image deal but because there are occasional efforts to alter appearances for no good reason other than to change opinions.

    Time altered OJ Simpsons mug shot to make him look more sinister. Newsweek altered the picture of some hillbilly mom that threw a litter to make her look more appealing. That sort of thing should be outlawed by ethics and common decency but it is not so I guess the government has to step in.

  18. Arizona seems rapidly to be displacing Florida (not to mention Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi) as the state where crazy is the most legislative norm.

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