America’s sweetheart and Pretty Woman Julia Roberts may not be as pretty as you think. A recent ad campaign featuring Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington has been banned in the UK after complaints of excessive airbrushing by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson.
Swinson has been a very vocal proponent of banning any media reflecting “overly perfected and unrealistic images” of women, claiming that this unrealistic advertising is “not representative of the results the product could achieve”.
L’Oréal has admitted that the models’ images in the ads had been altered and admitted to digitally retouching the photos in order to “lighten the skin, clean up makeup, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows”.
So what did they leave the same? Apparently they felt that leaving some signs of aging, including crow’s feet, accurately showed results achievable by using their product. While L’Oreal did provide information on modifications they made to the images, they were not willing to release pre-production photos of the models, citing contractual reasons. This only furthered Swinson’s disgust for the issue, fueling her to state that “Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don’t reflect reality. Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don’t need retouching to look great. This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers – let’s get back to reality.”
Have we gone too far with our expectations for visual perfection in the media?