James Duddridge MP has backed a cross-party campaign calling on national organisations to end the digital manipulation of models' bodies in advertising and on social media.
The Body Image Pledge invites brands, charities and organisations to voluntarily commit to not digitally manipulating body proportions in any direct advertising or promotional material, including images appearing on storefronts.
A letter, signed by James and MPs from across the political divide, highlights the harmful effects that viewing digitally altered bodies can have on a person’s – particularly a child’s – self-esteem and body image.
Action has already been taken by some well-known organisations with Dove, Boots, Barry M, PureGym and the Mental Health Foundation already signing up to the Body Image Pledge.
The Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 will also be accurately represented with the official promotional event services provider, DRP Group, having made the commitment too.
The letter states: “We recognise there is no easy solution to this problem, and that no one policy or piece of legislation alone will solve this issue. Supporting the Body Image Pledge, however, would be a fantastic first step in the right direction. We have the potential to make a real difference to how we as a society view body image, which will greatly impact our mental and physical health as a nation."
It continues: “As online campaigns run by businesses, charities and organisations reach millions of people each week, we are calling for the accurate representation of body proportions of any person who appears in direct advertising or promotional material. A simple step towards honest advertising.”
Commenting, James said:
"Adverts that include models with digitally altered bodies can have a profound impact on a person's self-esteem and body image, particularly a child's, and that is why action is needed.
“By making this commitment to end the use of digital manipulation in advertising, organisations all around the country can make a real difference to those suffering from an eating disorder or low body confidence.
"It's fantastic to see that some major brands have already signed up to the pledge, and I hope more will follow their lead."