As readers of this blog will know – the Government’s Body Confidence campaign (co-founded when we were in opposition by myself and LibDem MP Jo Swinson way back when) is moving forward.
One of our main themes is the persistent delivery of perfected images which imply that the use of a certain product will deliver such perfection – when of course – the perfection is courtesy of the air brush or digital alteration.
The advertising industry has moved forward on this issue. It is a step in the right direction – a small step – but a step!
The Committee of Advertising Practice/Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice – the two bodies who make the rules for the advertising industry and work with the ASA to enforce them have produced a paper (guidance) on the use of production techniques in cosmetics.
It was published on the 4th April and sets out in simple form what can and cannot be done to advertisements to ensure that they do not mislead the consumer.
There is more info and a summary of the guidelines available on the CAP/BCAP website here.
This shows that the ASA are acknowledging the pressure that is mounting about pre and post production techniques and demonstrating that they understand that this is a real issue. I welcome this move in the right direction.
Whilst this particular step forward moves the agenda on (so long as they enforce it) in terms of misleading advertisements – we are still working on a number of fronts to address the endless concentration on one type of body image being desirable (impossibly thin and perfect) – and campaigning for diversity of image.
This isn’t about the advertising industry alone – there are many industries who could contribute hugely to improving the situation including: the broadcast media, fashion industry, magazines, sport, education and both the film and drama fields as well.
And it’s not just about women and girls – there are a growing number of men and boys resorting to steroids to give them the perfected male images that are now promoted in men’s mags too.
I hope to be able to update everyone on progress on the Government Body Confidence campaign next month.