30 June 2011

AMA vs. Photoshop: think of the children

This pic is everywhere now
Last week the American Medical Association officially condemned the "photoshopping" of models in fashion advertisements and magazines to make those models appear unrealistically thin.  While the "models are too skinny" debate has gone on for decades, this is a rare and important step.  Their stance is obviously more of a statement on our runaway culture of beauty than our use of technology, but it also should send a clear message to those of us in the communications business (marketing, advertising, or PR) - just because you can do something, that doesn't mean you should.  Earlier this month I warned against pretending to be someone you're not. This is a similar principle - don't use deceptive images to promote your products.  This example demonstrates the consequences can extend beyond looking like a creep.

I'm not going to pretend to be the moral authority on these issues and I'm not going to say it's wrong to retouch a photo or get a nip and/or tuck if you want.  However, it seems the AMA believes things are getting worse, not better - and it's clear that technological advancements have enabled some people to take things to the extreme.

This issue reminds me of two other issues where some segments of the medical community have already weighed in but I wish the AMA would add its rather hefty and credible voice - promotion of breastfeeding and reducing the influence of pro-anorexia groups on social networks.  I've written about this before. People who freak out over nipples on breastfeeding pictures in Facebook profiles aren't simply advocating for more modesty, they're reducing our ability to promote breastfeeding - and that has negative health consequences.  Social networks like Facebook have made some progress on cleaning up pro-ana sites, but they're still around - and this is also a threat to public health.

Don't take my word for it - take my wife's.  She's the health researcher at the big-time university, and she wrote about both issues several years ago. Discouraging breastfeeding is bad.  Facilitating the harmful practices of people with anorexia is also bad. Of course, I look at the Facebook terms of service and I don't see anything in there that would address these issues. I'm not sure if other social networks have different terms.

Bottom line, there's an opportunity here for the AMA to get more involved in the online space. There's no question that our culture affects our behavior, and our behavior affects our health.  While we should be mindful of protecting free speech rights, we should be giving the medical community a larger voice here.

1 comment:

Kamagra Online said...

Hi it's nice pic . I like it Kamagra