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Airbrushing heat on magazines

London, Dec. 22: Digitally-enhanced photographs of models are leaving young girls chasing the illusion of a flawless appearance, the British Fashion Council said as it urged magazine editors and advertisers to consider restricting their use.

The move follows an independent inquiry into the health of London catwalk models which called for a voluntary code to regulate the use of digital manipulation. The British Fashion Council, which owns and organises London Fashion Week, said it was writing to the British Society of Magazine Editors, the Periodical Publishers Association and the Advertising Association about the issue.

“Criticism of digitally-enhanced body images and the part it plays in magazines in perpetuating an unachievable aesthetic was raised during the independent inquiry,” the BFC said. Its letter asks editors and others what, if anything, can be done. The widespread use of “dishonest” images is blamed within the fashion industry and outside for the growth in anorexia among teenage and pre-teen girls.

The Women’s Forum in Australia published a report recently — Faking It: The Female Image in Young Women’s Magazines — which said thin, sexualised and digitally-enhanced images of women were linked with women’s experiences of poor body image, depression and anxiety and eating disorders.

Photographs of actress Kate Winslet were enhanced before they appeared on the cover of GQ magazine. The journal’s editor Dylan Jones said the photographs had been “highly styled, buffed, trimmed and altered... to make the subject look as good as humanly possible”.

Winslet’s agent made it clear that while the actress approved the original shots she was not consulted about the digital alterations made afterwards to lengthen her legs and flatten her stomach.

The healthy-sized actress has been celebrated and criticised at different times by the media for having a typical womanly figure. As an actress, Winslet has previously defended the naturally average-figured woman and now says: “I’m completely physically comfortable with who I am... I don’t feel I have to run around waving my flag about the female body any more.”

In American promotional posters for King Arthur, the actress Keira Knightly saw her cleavage digitally enhanced. In an interview with Elle magazine, she clarified: “I don’t have any tits.”

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