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“Tell Us the Truth”: Girls call for honesty over airbrushing

August 4, 2010

Today young members of Girlguiding UK, the UK’s largest organisation for girls and young women, are launching a petition to call upon David Cameron to introduce compulsory labelling to distinguish between airbrushed and natural images.

The girls and young women demand action from the Prime Minister in order to ‘shape a generation of self-confident girls and young women’. The petition follows on from Girlguiding UK’s 2009 research, the Girls Attitudes Survey, which demonstrated that 50% of 16-21 year old girls would consider having surgery to change the way they look and 42% of 11 to 16 year olds admitting to watching what they ate or cutting down on certain foods to excess.

The petition was launched during Fusion, a one day performing arts spectacular, which is taking place at Harewood House bringing together around 20,000 members of Girlguiding UK as well as girls from across the world to celebrate the Centenary.

Sign the petition here

Girlguiding UK member Natalie Fontaine said:

 “We each know from our own experience that the airbrushed images that you see in magazines and on advertising boards can really affect the self confidence of girls and young women. Most of us have no idea how significantly these pictures are altered and are shocked when they realise that the images they have of celebrities and models are not a reality.

“As members of the largest organisation for girls and young women we think that it is really important to highlight how serious this issue has become and demand action to protect all girls and young women from these damaging and unrealistic pressures.”

 Chief Guide, Liz Burnley CBE, said:

“From the research we have conducted and our everyday experiences working with girls and young women, we know how profoundly they feel the pressure to conform to a particular body image and how badly they can be affected by these unobtainable ideals.

 “We are proud to support the calls of our members who believe that it is time that the Prime Minister addressed their concerns and acted in the interests of girls and young women across the country.”

Commenting, Jo Swinson MP added:

“This is a fantastic campaign, and I am delighted that Girlguiding UK is taking up this issue.  I co-founded the Campaign for Body Confidence out of concern that people of all ages are feeling so much pressure over their body image – especially young girls.

“There is plenty of scientific evidence that being exposed to so many unrealistic images in the media can be harmful to people’s health and wellbeing. I think making people more aware of the extent to which these images have been digitally manipulated would help girls to feel confident that those images do not represent something they should have to aspire to.”

Chief Executive of B-eat, Susan Ringwood, said:

“Young people with eating disorders tell us that being surrounded everyday by pictures of unnaturally ‘perfect’ bodies makes their own recovery so much more difficult to achieve.

“We know the difference it would make to all young people’s self esteem and body confidence if they could be sure which of the images they see are natural and true to life.

“We are committed to working with Girlguiding UK and others to make this important call to action a reality.”

Girlguiding UK is a member of the Campaign for Body Confidence steering group.

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