On October 1st, Getty Images will amend its photo submission requirements to ban images that have been Photoshopped to make models look substantially thinner or larger. The policy update comes after a new law in France, which is set to take effect on the same day. The law will force magazine publishers to disclose whether commercial images have been retouched to change a model’s body shape.
The new laws in France will also require fashion houses to employ runway models sized 34 or higher (dress sizes 4 and 6 in the US and Britain, respectively). Models will need to obtain medical notes from their doctors verifying that they are not dangerously thin and maintain a healthy body mass index. Failure to provide the note will result in the model’s agency being fined £64,000, or about $85,700. Only one state in the US — California — has a similar policy to France’s, which requires a doctor’s note verifying a model’s health and regular nutritional and physical counseling.
Getty clarifies that minor retouching, such as skin blemishes, hair color, or “nose shape” are acceptable, with the policy only applying to body shape manipulation. The changes will also apply to iStock, which is owned by Getty.
Other problems that plague in the industry, however, are more than just body size: celebrities like Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong'o, Freida Pinto, and Beyoncé have all seen images of themselves with lighter skin tones on print magazines and ad campaigns, while Keira Knightley and Kate Hudson have been Photoshopped to have larger busts in movie posters. The new regulations clearly aim to address physical health more than to change the industry’s beauty standards.