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Under New French Law, Retouched Photos Of Models Must Bear Warning Label

02/10/2017 1:21 AM AEDT | Updated 05/10/2017 3:14 AM AEDT
ElenaNichizhenova via Getty Images
Female model working at studio with photographer

Photoshopping models in fashion ads has become such a norm that when companies choose not to retouch their commercials, it makes headlines.

France, however, is on a crusade to change that standard. As of Sunday, a new French law mandates that any commercial photo in which the “body of the model has been modified … to either slim or flesh out her figure” must bear a “photographie retouchée” (“retouched photograph”) label, reports France 24.

Failing to abide by the law could cost rule-breakers a fine of up to $44,000.

French officials said the rule was enacted in an effort to reduce the number of “unrealistic images of bodies” that children and young people are exposed to.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine said exposure to such images can lead “to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behavior,” per BBC.

About 600,000 young people are believed to suffer from eating disorders in France, according to AFP. After road accidents, eating disorders are reportedly the top cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds in the country.

Earlier this year, France introduced another rule aimed at tackling the issue of eating disorders and to protect the health of models in the fashion industry. Under it, models in France have to provide a doctor’s note proving they are of healthy weight before they can work.

Getty Images recently announced that it would be banning retouched fashion images. Getty, the world’s largest provider of stock photos, said it would no longer be accepting images of “models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger,” per The Observer. 

Getty spokeswoman Anne Flanagan told NPR that the company’s decision was a “direct response” to France’s new rule.

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