The anti-Photoshop movement that's been gaining steam can now count a major success. Last week, ModCloth announced that it is the first retailer to sign the "Heroes Pledge for Advertisers" — a set of guidelines limiting the use of Photoshop in ads.
The Heroes Pledge was drafted by The Brave Girls Alliance, an organization that seeks to change unrealistic, oversexualized depictions of women and girls in the media, through a combination of social media campaigns, and "Truth In Advertising" legislation. The pledge ModCloth signed means the retailer will "do its best" not to alter the "shape, size, proportion, [or] color" of models in its ads. If those characteristics are in any way altered, the retailer promises, there will be a disclaimer stating that Photoshop was used. ModCloth further pledges not to run digitally altered ads "in media where children under 13 might see them."
In a statement, ModCloth tells us that it's "always been a champion of depicting real women rather than idealized, unhealthy, Photoshopped versions of what women 'should' look like." And, it hopes that other companies will follow its lead "by supporting this cause and [Brave Girl Alliance's] accompanying legislation."
Some critics counter that limits to, and labels on, digitally altered ads are unnecessary, since women know the difference between real life and an idealized image. But, when it comes to the constant barrage of inhumanly perfect (and often Photoshopped to oblivion) advertising images we see every day, seeing is believing. BGA makes a convincing case that Photoshop in advertising is a public health issue, citing links between deceptive ads, and real-life damage to women and girls' self-esteem. Here's hoping even more retailers realize that they don't need to make us feel crappy to sell us clothes.