The fashion brand gets behind the The Truth in Advertising Act, which aims to limit how digitally altered images are used

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Updated: June 19, 2016

ModCloth has been a source for vintage-inspired clothing for its customers, and now the fashion outlet hopes to be a source of change in the fight to see more #realwomen in advertising. The company has taken a proactive stance on body positivity by leading the fight against Photoshopping in fashion ads and on clothing sites. Now they're lobbying Congress to pass the Truth in Advertising bill, which asks the government to call out companies who digitally manipulate their images and put labels on pictures that have been altered. (Celebs are on the anti-Photoshop bandwagon, too. Queen Bey and legendary supermodel Cindy Crawford have spoken out against the overused practice.)

The company's crusade began when it signed the "Heroes Pledge for Advertisers" initiated by the Brave Girls Alliance. The pledge states that companies promise "to do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color, and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in our ads in post-production" and if they do, they will include a visible disclaimer. The campaign hopes to ensure consumers, in particular, children and teens, don't misinterpret an ad as "ideal" when it's not real, and that's critical as one study found that 78 percent of girls reported feeling "unhappy with their bodies" by age 17", with much of that body negativity stemming from the way media and advertising depict "beautiful" women. (BTW, there is no singular idea of what "ideal" beauty looks like. Check out how these Women Around the World Photoshop Their Ideal Body Image.)

ModCloth is now pushing for legislation that would make the Heroes Pledge an actual law instead of just a nice set of guidelines that brands may or may not follow. This week the company headed to Capitol Hill to meet with the legislators behind the Truth in Advertising Act, which was first introduced in 2014 and gained little traction on the Congressional floor. Unfortunately, the forecast for this second attempt at getting the bill passed doesn't look much better.

Regardless, the response to ModCloth, and later Aerie's decision to stop airbrushing models, has been overwhelmingly positive as sales at both companies have increased significantly. These sales numbers and the public response have shown how powerful the public can be in influencing corporate policy, said ModCloth's founder, Susan Koger to Mic Style. "As a culture, we're choosing which media we consume. It's not all controlled from the top down like it used to be. We want to see true beauty. We want to see reality."

Beyond having a law enacted, Koger also said that this fight is about raising awareness. "It'll hopefully allow men and women, as they're consuming advertising, to not feel like they're lacking," she told Mic. "That they're not enough."



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