Norway Says No To Unrealistic Beauty Standards - Influencers Legally Must Disclose Retouched Photos

18/10/2021

The laws were passed as an amendment to the country's Marketing Act.

On June 2, a landslide 72 to 15 vote took place. However, The King of Norway is still yet to decide when it will take effect.

Let’s be real… we are all guilty of a bit of retouching at some point - or at least thinking about it - because it’s the majority of what we see on social media. It’s these unrealistic beauty standards that are poisoning our minds against our appearances, and Norway has come through with an attempt to make a positive change to this. 

Advertisements where a body's shape, size, or skin has been retouched—even using a filter before a photo is taken—will require a standardised label designed by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, according to the new laws. Exaggerated lips, reduced waists, and exaggerated muscles are examples of alterations that need labelling, but it is unclear whether the same will apply to the likes of enhancing the likes of lighting, colour saturation etc.

The decision comes amid ongoing public debate in Norway about “kroppspress,” or “body pressure.” The Ministry of Children and Family cites research in their proposal to the Norwegian parliament that "body pressure," or beauty standards, are found to be a prevalent factor in low self-esteem in young people.

“Body pressure is present in the workplace, in the public space, in the home, and in various media, etc,” the Ministry of Children and Family writes in the proposed amendments sent to the Norwegian parliament. “Body pressure is always there, often imperceptibly, and is difficult to combat. A requirement for retouched or otherwise manipulated advertising to be marked is one measure against body pressure.” 

“The measure will hopefully make a useful and significant contribution to curbing the negative impact that such advertising has, especially on children and young people,” the ministry added. 

The ministry did admit, however, that the requirement could be hard to implement because it is not always possible to tell if a photo has been modified. It also stated that an unintended effect of the rule could be that influencers feel greater pressure to seek cosmetic surgery “in order to live up to beauty ideals.”

Overall we think it is a step in the right direction and it seems that the majority of influencers in Norway agree!

Do you think we should think about implementing these laws in New Zealand too?

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