Is drawing up a voluntary pledge in partnership with fashion, beauty and media brands help out to tackle issues of body confidence among girls and women?
Beauty, it’s said, lies in the eyes of the beholder. However, if you look at beauty ads across the world, they tacitly promote a certain idea of beauty that involves flawless skin and an hour-glass figure among others without realizing the pressure it puts on people to look perfect.
In July an ad featuring digitally altered photos of Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington created a huge furore not just in UK, but across the globe. Now, the UK government is seriously thinking of taking irresponsible advertisers in the country to task.
The UK government is drawing up a voluntary pledge for the fashion, beauty and media brands to tackle issues of body confidence among girls and women. According to this Marketing Magazine report, “Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone MP will unveil the pledge next year. It will operate in a similar way to the Department of Health’s ‘Responsibility deal’, which targets obesity and alcohol misuse.”
Last year minister Featherstone had outlined punitive measures for similar ads including kitemarks on ads that use digitally altered photos.
The pledge has not yet been finalized but according to reports the idea behind the ad is to reduce pressure on people that media and popular culture creates to attain the perfect and ideal appearance. It is the government’s hope that the pledge will help shift attitudes over time.
The move is bound to have effect on advertising standards across the world. With awareness rising about the pressures that beauty ads put on people, there is a social pressure on brands to curb down on the social conditioning they inadvertently perpetrate through the ads.
It is true that globally competition between brands is high, but that is no excuse for irresponsible advertising that promotes a certain perception of beauty over others. At the same time, excessive governmental interference to curb down such ads is not such a good idea either.
In July the same issue had raised its ugly head after the Advertising Standards Authority in UK banned ads of the Maybelline and Lancôme brands owned by L’Oréal after receiving complaint that the photos of actress Julia Roberts and model Christy Turlington had been extensively altered. The complaint was sent by MP Jo Swinson who is also involved in the body-confidence campaign in UK.
The Facebook page of the body-confidence campaign states, “We believe that the pressure to conform to impossible stereotypes is damaging our sense of well-being and leading to increasing unhappiness, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders in women, particularly amongst young people and children - and men. We believe that everyone has the right, whatever their size, shape or form, to feel happy about themselves.”
Hopefully this news from the UK will give global markets, including India, to practice voluntary self-regulation by toning down the idea of beauty that they promote through their ads.
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