An Arizona legislator has introduced a bill to make it illegal to run print ads in the state that have been Photoshopped, unless viewers are notified that the image has been altered.
The bill’s sponsor, state representative Katie Hobbs of Phoenix, told the Arizona Republic that she introduced the bill at the urging of the Maricopa County YWCA. The YWCA pushed for the bill out of its concern over the influence of media images on young women. The bill is reportedly modeled after similar laws in Britain.
Arizona House Bill 2739 specifies that “an advertiser shall not use postproduction techniques to alter or enhance printed media advertisements” that are displayed in the state, unless they carry a disclaimer.
The disclaimer proposed by the bill would have to say: “Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved.” Under the current language of the bill, the disclaimer would have to be “clearly and legibly stated in the advertisement.”
The bill, which is one of the first of its kind in the country, has little chance of passing. And Hobbs is on the defensive, because some of her constituents have suggested she focus on more important issues.
In a letter published by the Arizona Republic, she defended the bill by explaining:
“Girls see an average of 400 images a day of what it means to be beautiful in our culture. Many of these images are unattainable because they are not real.
“Depression among women and girls has doubled in the past 10 years, and 65 percent of American women and girls have an eating disorder.
“There are links between these serious health issues and advertising’s attempts to sell women and girls the myth that they can and should achieve physical perfection to have value in our culture.
I know my bill won’t solve this problem, but I’m glad that it helped start the discussion.”