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Lib Dems campaign for ban on airbrushed ads aimed at children

LONDON - The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign against the use of airbrushed images of models in campaigns targeting the under-16s.

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Airbrushing or retouching has long been an integral element of the post-production process and is often used to remove small imperfections from the original shot.

The Liberal Democrats want the Advertising Standards Authority to create new rules forcing advertisers to indicate on an ad whether the images had been airbrushed.

Jo Swinson, Lib Dem spokeswoman on women said: "Today's unrealistic idea of what is beautiful means that young girls are under more pressure now than they were even five years ago.

"Airbrushing means that adverts contain completely unattainable perfect images no one can live up to in real life.

"We need to help protect children from these pressures and we need to make a start by banning airbrushing in adverts aimed at them."

Swinson has also said adverts for cosmetic surgery should reveal more information about the success rates of treatment.

Swinson's move comes as it was revealed fellow Lib Dem front bencher Lembit Opik is dating a bra model who is running her own campaign against the use of thin models. Former New Look shop girl Katie Green won Wonderbra's model search competition but quit after she was told to lose weight.

The use of airbrushing is typically used to remove unwanted elements in the shot such as stray hairs of creasing on clothes.

It came to prominence when GQ admitted "slimming down" a cover shot of Kate Winslet in 2003.

Last year Unilever was forced to deny it had retouched the women in its Dove 'Campaign for Real Beauty' shots.

In 2007 The British Fashion Council, which runs London Fashion Week, launched an enquiry into airbrushing and acknowledged there were dangers in taking it too far. It wrote to the periodical trade bodies for advice on how to combat it.

The BFC said: "Criticism of digitally-enhanced body images and the part it plays in magazines in perpetuating an unachievable aesthetic was raised during the independent inquiry."

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