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Should retailers be forced to flag extreme photo alterations?

Categories: Health


A screen shot of the H&M dressing room shows a digitally generated body with one of several interchangeable heads. (

Popular Swedish retailer H&M came under fire this week for blending the heads of real women onto digitally generated bodies with adjustable skin tones.

Although the faces are racially diverse, the bodies are identical. Customers are invited to clothe the models in the store's digital dressing room.

The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet quickly criticized the tool, saying it highlights a general trend toward extreme photo retouching.

The paper quoted an expert in photographic analysis, who linked unrealistic images to distorted body image and eating disorders. Advertisers routinely go beyond basic retouching (adjusting brightness and colour) to more drastic changes (greatly reducing a model's body weight and removing every blemish), he said.

Several European countries, including Britain, France and Norway, are considering compulsory labeling of airbrushed images that go to extremes, Aftonbladet reported.

The fashion industry was quick to fire back.

"Our readers are adults and smart and know that the magazine they buy is retouched," said Hermine Coyet Ohlén, editor of Elle Sweden. "Women are often portrayed as victims of ideals, but we do not see it that way."

Do you think H&M was wrong to digitally alter models this way? Why or why not? Do you expect, or even appreciate, enhanced images? Share your thoughts in the field below.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: World

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