Getty Bans Photoshopped Images That Alter the Sizes of Models’ Bodies, and It’s About Time


Image Source: Thinkstock

How many times have you looked at glossy images of women in magazines and thought, “That is so Photoshopped, no woman looks like that!” And how many times did you look at those same pencil-thin models and quietly compare yourself to their outrageous proportions, only to feel “less than”? I know I have — about a billion and one times. So I was stunned when I heard the news that the world’s largest photo agency, Getty Images, will no longer be accepting images of women who’ve been Photoshopped to have their bodies appear bigger or smaller.

The move comes at a pivotal time in feminism, when bloggers and celebs are starting to call out what’s “real” versus “fake” when it comes to natural body proportions and female beauty standards. I’m sure you’ve seen the body-positive hashtags that have trended over the last few years, like #NoFilter and “IWokeUpLikeThis. Women are straight-up DONE looking at fake images and being pressured into emulating what is, frankly, an unhealthy stereotype about what women’s bodies should look like.

The Amy Poehler-founded website A Mighty Girl seems to think so, too. On Tuesday, its Facebook page shared the news in a now-viral post praising the photo agency for its new policy:

“For years, advocates have highlighted the impacts of such photoshopping on girls’ self-esteem,” the caption notes. “[And] a study released last month found that looking at photos of slim women for just 15 minutes changes viewers’ perception of what the ‘ideal body’ is.”

The Facebook post goes on to outline Getty’s new policy, which states that photographers are asked to no longer submit “any creative content depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.” And it’s all thanks to a new French law that went into effect on October 1, requiring that “all commercial images that have been retouched to change a model’s size be clearly labeled,” according to Getty. As a result, the image agency tweaked its policy to be in compliance with the French law, thereby changing their photo submission rules worldwide.

Make no mistake, this is amazing news for girls and women everywhere, because it’s ushering in a new era in which female bodies that don’t conform to industry standards (hello, cardboard cutouts) will now be considered the exception. And what were once considered “imperfections” — like, oh, I dunno, having hips for example — will now be normalized. Or better yet, celebrated.

To this day, I still remember feeling shame when I first read the popular quote “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” in an ad next to the internationally beloved, impossibly thin, and cellulite-free Kate Moss. I clearly remembering pinching my belly at 100 pounds and 5 feet, six inches tall and thinking, “I’m going on a diet.” I don’t want to see my daughter ever question her worth in the same way that I once did thanks to those damned glossy models.

There are some loopholes to the new policy, however: While it may forbid the altering of body shape and appearance of cellulite, altering images to change hair color, skin color, nose shape, or even blemishes are still allowed. Still, at least this is some step in the right direction.

Well done, Getty. Thanks for leading the pack.

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