This Photo Retouching Pledge Is a Much-Needed Code of Editing Ethics
One woman is on a mission to change the way designers mess with people's bodies.
Ronda Rousey. Lena Dunham. Zendaya. Meghan Trainor. These are just some of the superstar celebs who have recently taken a stand against the photoshopping of their photos. Even in situations where the celebs aren't fuming, the fans are. Just take these epic photoshop fails from Mariah Carey, Kylie Jenner, and Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid that all had internet trolls pointing out that this stuff just isn't cool.
That's why one designer started a social impact project called The Retouchers Accord, a sort of moral code for the people who hold the power to subtract inches from celeb waistlines and smooth cellulite from even the fittest models. It calls for everyone in the image business-from casting directors, photographers, and graphic designers to marketing teams and even the models or celebs themselves-to make a pledge toward increasing the authenticity of images.
The overall mission: to celebrate *real* beauty with a code of ethics and practical advice. Can we get a hell to the yeah?
Sarah Krasley, the mastermind behind The Retouchers Accord and founder of Unreasonable Women Inc. (the NYC–based company that puts women's needs at the center of product, service, and workplace policy design), got her inspiration from the The Designers Accord, a 10-year-old set of oaths that established a code of ethics around sustainability in the design industry. The new oath follows a similar design, but includes a call to fuel a dialog about social impact, diversity, and authenticity; practice integrity and empathy in image-making; and understand the role of a healthy body image throughout the industry and society as a whole.
The conversation about body image and retouched photos is nothing new, and this is far from the first industry effort to make a difference. Lingerie brand Aerie has been spearheading the un-retouched advertising movement with their campaign #AerieReal that shows gorgeous girls exactly as they are. ModCloth pledged support for the Truth In Advertising bill dedicated to more transparency around altered images. Models, celebs, and fitness influencers themselves (Chrissy Teigen, Iskra Lawrence, and Anna Victoria, to name only a few) are using social media to post pics of their unfiltered selves to make a statement about perfection. Researchers have even looked into whether adding a disclaimer to photoshopped ads would make a difference. (And we're no strangers to all this at SHAPE; fitness stock photos are failing us all, and we're trying to make a change. That's part of the reason we started the #LoveMyShape movement.)
While this photoshop pledge isn't the first thing to rock the retouching boat, it's a meaningful sign that the industry sees a need to make a change, and provides some guidance on how to do so.