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.