This New Bill Incentivizes Companies to Use Unedited Images of Models

Representative Kay Khan proposed new Massachusetts legislation to push body positivity forward by giving corporations a tax credit for using unedited images in their advertisement.

body positivity

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We’re seeing a shift in the way bodies are represented in the media. It’s still not enough, but it’s happening. From people speaking up about body positivity to brands providing sizes and marketing geared towards every body—not just one body. This new legislation is pushing for more and more corporations to jump on board.

Representative Kay Khan proposed a new bill in the Massachusetts Legislature that will incentivize corporations that do not digitally alter models’ skin tone, skin texture, body size, or body shape in advertisements. The incentive? A tax credit of up to $10,000 for cosmetic, personal care, and apparel companies that refrain from using these digitally altered advertisements.

“We know from years of research that near constant exposure to these manipulated images puts young people at grave risk of mental health issues like developing an eating disorder,” Bryn Austin, Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release. “The good news is that there is a new trend to not conform to harmful beauty ideals, and this new legislation has an opportunity to accelerate it.”

Apps like Facetune and Snap Chat have been linked to body dysmorphia in young people and even when pictures were labeled as “altered” or “enhanced” it did not make it less likely for people to aspire to reach those ideals. This legislation could provide a means for more representation of what real people look like in the media.

“Young people are increasingly bombarded by digitally altered images of models in advertising,” Khan said in a press release. “Some of these images have been so manipulated that models have told us their own parents don’t recognize them. This bill will hopefully spur companies to lean into the body confidence movement and realize that consumers would like to see themselves—their real selves—in the media.”

The bill is now available for co-sponsorship in the Massachusetts Legislature until June 6th.