Stop Look and Label

Here’s a thought that nicely dovetails with the arrival of Art Basel to these climes…..

[F]eminist legislators in France, Britain and Norway say…they want digitally altered photos to be labeled. In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy on body image and advertising that urged advertisers and others to “discourage the altering of photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”

Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic…. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.

The Dartmouth research, said Seth Matlins, a former talent agent and marketing executive, could be “hugely important” as a tool for objectively measuring the degree to which photos have been altered. He and his wife, Eva Matlins, the founders of a women’s online magazine, Off Our Chests, are trying to gain support for legislation in America. Their proposal, the Self-Esteem Act, would require photos that have been “meaningfully changed” to be labeled. — NYTimes

What’s a body to do? Well, this body places a call to Dartmouth – what a name for a feminist: Dart-mouth — and while neither researcher is available, I get Isa Tope, a grad student.

“Of course we’re serious,” she says indignantly when I ask.  “The image young women develop of themselves at an early age impacts their entire lives and careers.”

Aren’t they aware that what they’re looking at in magazines is touched up and always has been?  Even before Photoshop?

“I would say many know, and many don’t.  But enough don’t that we’re seeing lots of girls with unrealistic expectations who go on to practice destructive behaviors.”

Like what — dieting?  Paying attention to their clothing and grooming?

“No, like starving themselves and walking around miserable and depressed thinking they’re ugly because they don’t look like supermodels.”

When they watch Supergirl do they get depressed because they can’t fly?


Sorry.  Showing my age.  What I’m getting at is, when did kids get so dumb that they can’t separate reality from fantasy without an explicit warning label?

“It’s not a matter of dumb or smart.  Lots of very intelligent kids have self-esteem problems.  They see these idealized versions of human beings everywhere they turn, and aspire to what is basically impossible, and it poisons their self-perspective.”

Why not just make it a point to emphasize the need for parents, teachers, and other adults to explain that what they’re looking at isn’t real?  You know — when I was a kid we were told not to bean each other with hammers like Moe Larry and Curly — that made more sense than censoring Three Stooges movies.

“So THAT’S why Baby Boomers are so retarded,” she retorts, and hangs up.

Hey — maybe she’s right.

I dunno.  If kids are too damn dumb to figure out that the photos and movies they’re looking at are highly modified and idealized and basically fake, they deserve every bit of rotten self-esteem they harbor.

On the other hand, grown men and women look seriously at actors, politicians, and evangelicals and swallow every word as sincere gospel.

Are we growing so stupid that we can’t discern shit from shinola without a written advisory?  Is that why spray cans of furniture polish have printed warnings not to eat the contents or spray into our eyes/ears/anii?  Sobering thought.

Nyuk nyuk nyuk.  Or should I say, “Nyuk nyuk nyuk.”

This entry was posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Stop Look and Label

  1. Excuse me sir. What is Shinola? i know what shit is and my mom says its a very bad word.
    Bobby Andrews
    Age 8

  2. Hugh Bris says:

    This is so unbelievably wrong I thought it was a joke. Is there also a planned limit on the amount of lipstick, make-up, hair dye, and foundation a model can use in real life before it threatens to damage the self-esteem of zitty teens? An ordinance prohibiting lifts in shoes for short men? It’s SHOW BIZ for shinola sake. Not topography.

    • Ruh Roh says:

      I get that — but consumer protection laws aren’t established to protect consumers from themselves. If a company overtly misstates facts about its products or services, that’s something to be protected from. An over-photoshopped photo allegedly injures a consumer how — by upsetting a teenager’s self-esteem? This is the fault of the advertiser? That’s loony.

  3. The Professor is Wright says:

    This discussion reminds me of a move years ago by airheaded academics who wanted a law prohibiting a public figure or and actor from pitching s product or service in an advertisement unless that public figure actually used them himself. It’s mind bogglingly naive, unworkable, and wrong-headed. People need to understand that what they see and hear is bought and paid for, and give it exactly the zero credibility it deserves. It’s on the consumer, not the salesman.

  4. Virginia says:

    You meanies are all wrong! Liar liar pants on fire. Next you’ll say there’s no Santa Claus! Waaaaah!

  5. Miami Harold says:

    The whole self-esteem issue has been badly managed.
    Self-esteem is something one develops as a result of achievement and self-awareness.
    It’s not a birthright.
    If you feel bad about yourself
    because you’re not as skinny/pretty/strong/talented as somebody else,
    you need to set your sights more realistically,
    and work at what you do best that provides you satisfaction.
    Stop whining, stop blaming, stop finding excuses.
    In fact, just stop.
    Then start over.

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