Digitally altered advertisements may be two-dimensional, but the negative impact they can have is a tangible reality. That is why Seth Matlins wants to do something about it.
Matlins, a former Hollywood advertising executive and father of two, has launched a petition on Change.org against overly Photoshopped ads. Titled "Stop Photoshopped Ads From Hurting Our Kids: FTC, Act on H.R.4341," the petition asks the Federal Trade Commission to pass the Truth in Advertising Act, which aims to reduce the use of media images that have been "altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted."
Matlins writes in the petition that such false advertising is making children sick:
Every parent thinks their children are perfect and my wife and I are no different. We want our [8-year-old] daughter and [7-year-old] son to grow up knowing they’re beautiful just the way they are. But every day our message to them as parents is undermined by the messages of advertisers "photoshopping" the people in their ads, creating false and unrealistic expectations of what our kids can and should look like.
He has called these ads "weapons of mass perfection" and warns of the possible effects they can have on children's mental health. Ads for Keep It Real, a body-image campaign launched by the SPARK Movement, say 53 percent of 13-year-old girls have body-image issues. In addition, the National Eating Disorders Association has reported males make up 10 percent of individuals with eating disorders.
“I've spent my entire career in and around advertising, and I know that advertising works," he said in a press release obtained by The Huffington Post. "I also know that ... beyond influencing what we buy, advertising sells attitudes, expectations, values, and so-called norms."
Matlin's petition for support has since garnered nearly 30,000 signatures.
Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida, and Lois Capps, of California, are backing the anti-Photoshopping bill.