Credit Your Edit!

Gracie Hansby Year 13, Wakatipu High School

When I go for a run — which, for the record, does not happen very often — I am a mess.

My complexion could only be matched by the colour of a tomato.

My hair is a tangled mop of blonde curls and I’m sufficiently slouched and completely out of breath.

When my friends and I gorge on pizza, we are all clutching our bloated stomachs afterwards.

Yet, celebrities post photos captioned "post-workout selfie" with perfect skin and luscious locks and "Every Day is Pizza Day" with a toned stomach and zero cellulite.

I look at their photos and I think, "Wow, why can’t I look like that? What is wrong with me?"

The truth is though, they aren’t real.

The perfect body, the flawless skin and the gorgeous hair are all products of editing apps such as Photoshop, Facetune and Airbrush.

Young people like myself aren’t aware of this, and this can prove very damaging to our self-esteem and expectations of what "attractive" looks like.

Currently, there is no law against posting fake images without stating they have been retouched.

Shouldn’t there be advertising standards?

These could be similar to the ones that produce companies are required to include (e.g. "suggested serving" and "not actual size").

If people are marketing themselves, shouldn’t they be subjected to similar demands and advertising ethics?

I’m starting a campaign: Credit Your Edit!

When I was 7 years old, I couldn’t even tell you what the word "diet" meant.

Nowadays, research suggests that one in four 7-year-olds enter into some form of "dieting behaviour".

Young children are being influenced by what they see on social media.

Women display images of their "body goals" which can only be achieved by undergoing rib removal.

Without any disclaimers, it is extremely difficult to separate what is real from what isn’t.

Make it a legal obligation to declare retouched images and help people to understand that what they’re seeing may be unrealistic.

Is my initiative fair to all concerned?

When you become a public influencer of any kind, you have a significant amount of sway over a large number of people.

With this comes responsibility.

Therefore, isn’t it fair that you should be honest with the people supporting your photos?

The goodwill generated will in turn, create better relationships.

As we all know, trust is built from honesty, so that’s a great start to developing a lasting friendship.

Being honest about images could also shut down cyber bullies who troll the internet in search of any evidence of retouching, and often bombard the person with significant amounts of abuse.

Will Credit Your Edit! be beneficial to all of us? I can’t see why not.

Compulsory, enforced honesty, in this case, is the best policy.

It will increase body confidence; healthier, more realistic body images will lead to a healthier, more realistic view on life.

Whether we like it or not, social media, celebrities and large marketing companies are dining out on these unrealistic images and it needs to stop.

Yes, go ahead and post those pics, but let us know if your masterpieces are fake. It’s time to get behind the Credit Your Edit! campaign.

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