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Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Campaign pushes for disclaimer on airbrushed ads

Seth and Eva Matlins want you to know the truth.

To lessen negative self-image in young girls, they are calling for disclaimers to be placed on doctored images of models in advertisements.

The co-founders of are campaigning against advertisers who use digitally altered and airbrushed images of models, citing that using such images contributes to the increasing problem of low self-esteem and negative body image in young girls.

The Matlinses announced their campaign to create The Self-Esteem Act, a bill that would require "truth in advertising" labels on airbrushed ads, in a Huffington Post blog on Aug. 22.

Seth Matlins' post did not call for an outright ban of altered images but rather a disclaimer stating that the ads aren't an accurate representation of real life.

"I think [The Self-Esteem Act] is awesome," said Barbara Welsch, a licensed psychologist at the Counseling and Wellness Center. "I think that our young girls are led to believe that these people really look the way they do."

Middle- and high-school-aged children aren't very aware of the techniques used in such advertisements, she said, and such unrealistic portrayals of how women "should" look can lead to eating disorders and self-esteem issues.

Journalism professor Kim Walsh-Childers agreed, saying research has shown girls as young as 10 years old respond to images of ultra-skinny models by engaging in dieting behavior.

However, she said, in the advertising industry, it is imperative to get the customer's attention, even if the reaction is negative.

"If we get you to look at the ad," she said, "we've won."


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