Perfect Just As You Are: Massachusetts Bill Would Reward Companies for Not Altering Models’ Appearance in Their Ads

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One lawmaker in Massachusetts is set on making money moves in favor of “body confidence” by sponsoring legislation that would provide financial incentives to companies that did not alter the look of models in their ads.

In the bill sponsored by state Rep. Kay Khan, cosmetic, personal care and apparel companies that “do not digitally alter models’ skin tone, skin texture, body size, or body shape” would get a tax credit of up to $10,000, Boston Magazine reports.

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The bill is the first of its kind in the nation, Politico reports.

“It would be trying to incentivize companies to be more realistic in their way of advertising,” Khan says, according to Politico. “It’s not that we see images just once or twice. We see these manipulated images hundreds of times, and that’s what kind of stays with us. So the idea would be to create a better environment that would promote more healthy images.”

And the need to do is dire, say researchers and body positive activists. Being bombarded with unrealistic images of people or a lack of diversity in the same can take a toll on mental health, especially among younger people, teens and children.

As Politico notes:

Experts say that regular exposure to digitally altered images of models can trigger mental health issues in young people, including eating disorders. And Khan’s bill comes as some brands have rejected using digitally altered images in ad campaigns. Women’s retailer Aerie stopped editing photos of models in 2014, and Target announced it would not alter images of models in its swimwear campaigns last year.

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“Young people are increasingly bombarded by digitally altered images of models in advertising,” Khan says, according to Boston Magazine. “Some of these images have been so manipulated that models have told us their own parents don’t recognize them. This bill will hopefully spur companies to lean into the body confidence movement and realize that consumers would like to see themselves—their real selves—in the media.”

Getting to see our real selves, no matter our shape, color or size. Now that would be beautiful.

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