Take Action Against Airbrushing

Think that airbrushing has got out of control?

Want advertisers to be honest and upfront about the sheer amount of airbrushing that goes on? Want to make a start on helping children to beat body image pressures? Then TAKE ACTION! Fill in the form and we’ll attach you details to the complaint letter below and pass it to the advertising authorities.


Advertising images of “perfect” bodies are increasingly created by the use of digital retouching, presenting a false and impossible ideal. An example of this is an advert for Rimmel featuring Lily Cole and in Sugar magazine (magazine aimed at young girls/teens) page 2 in October’s issue, which appears to be digitally retouched and can be viewed here: http://www.rimmellondon.com/Images_Market/AU/FeaturedProducts/StayGlossy_header_UK.jpg

I wish to complain about this advert under section 47 of the advertising standard code, titled children. Specifically 47.2 marketing communications addressed to, targeted at or featuring children should contain nothing that is likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm. This advert was placed in Sugar magazine this is clearly aimed at children and young teenagers. The use of digital enhancement in this advert to remove the models spots, blemishes and lines as well as the use of enhancement to perfect the shape of her face and lips is creating unrealistic body ideals for young girls. Many young girls would be unaware of the amount of digital enhancement used to create this image and if the lips have been enhnacements then this is misleading the viewer as it exaggerates the results that can be achieved as a result of the product. Fuleading them to believe that this is the body shape they should be aiming for. This can lead to physical and mental harm.

I hope that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have the common sense to understand the strength of feeling surrounding the use of digitally retouched pictures and the impact they can have on people’s perceptions of their own body image.

  • I therefore call on the CAP and the ASA to:
  • Work with relevant industry professionals in order to create a simple symbol that clearly states the extent to which each image has been digitally retouched
  • Make advertisers use this symbol for all adverts aimed at over 16s that use digital retouching to portray unrealistic body images
  • Stop advertisers from using digital retouching to portray unrealistic body images in adverts aimed at under 16s

We’ve collected the media reaction to Real Women so you can read further on the issues raised and see / join the debate.

Real Women Campaign on Air Brushing in the News

News / TV
BBC, Ban airbrushed ads, say Lib Dems
Daily Mail, Ban airbrushing in magazines and posters that ruins teen self-esteem, say Liberal Democrats
Sky News, Lib Dems Call For Airbrush Ban In Kids’ Ads
The London Paper, Airbrushed celebs include Britney, Jessica Alba and Victoria Beckham
The Guardian, Less airbrushing, more reality
The Independent, Don’t beef up Keira’s bust! Lib Dems take aim at advertisers over altered images
The Mirror, New campaign to to ban airbrushed pics in girls’ mags
The Telegraph, Airbrushing of photos should be banned, Liberal Democrats say
The Times, Don’t airbrush advertisements aimed at teens, say Lib Dems

Perez Hilton, Brits Want To Ban Photoshopping!


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