In recent times, pop culture, especially social media, has been called out for being the breeding ground of social insecurity and setting unrealistic beauty standards. Chasing these oft-unattainable goals has only led to self-esteem issues and discomfort with one’s body. However, Norway legislators seemed to have noticed this and are out to set it right.
The new law
After years of backing from several youth groups and Norway’s Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, the measure to address rampant body image and mental health issues has seen the light of the day.
After the amendment to the 2009 Marketing Act, the new law received landslide support and was passed in a 72-15 vote by the Norwegian Parliament on 02 June 2021. The King of Norway is yet to decide when will the law come into effect. Under the new regulations, it will be mandatory for influencers and advertisers to label images that have been retouched or have filters.
Findings that support this change
In its initial research, Norway’s Ministry of Children and Family Affairs stated that anorexia was the third most prevalent cause of death among young girls. It also added that more than half of 10th-grade girls in the Oslo School were struggling with mental health issues.
“Young people are exposed to a massive pressure to look good through, among other things, advertising and social media, and the models that are shown are often digitally retouched. This exposes young people to an ideal of beauty that is impossible to achieve,” the department said in its proposal.
What does it mean for influencers in Norway?
According to the new regulations, advertisements where the body shape, size, or skin has been retouched — for example, enlarging the lips, cinching the waist, exaggerating the muscles, or even using a filter before a picture is taken — will need a standardised label designed by Norway’s Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.
Although it’s still not clear if the same will apply to adjustments of lighting or saturation. The law passed in Norway also makes it necessary to label images posted by influencers and celebrities that will fetch them a payment or any other benefit. Any violation will be met with either a fine or imprisonment.
According to the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, the new law has received a positive response from influencers in the Scandinavian country.
Similar measures in the past
Similar measures have been taken in the past as well. In 2017, Getty Images announced it would ban photos of retouched models. In the same year, France passed a law that made it necessary that digitally retouched photos of models be labelled to read photographie retouchée, which means ‘edited photograph’.
Main and Featured image: Mateus Campos Felipe/Unsplash
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India