Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. David Sallee

Degree Award Date

Spring 2006


advertising, deceptive practices, photographic advertising, air-brushing, stretching, shaving, image altering, eating disorders, legislative proposal


American Popular Culture | Mass Communication | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Relations and Advertising


The purpose of this research endeavor was to solicit political support in hopes that the government might be made aware of the deceptive practices that are occurring in the realm of photographic advertising and take action to protect consumers from unlawful advertising. According to the Federal Trade Commission Act, any form of deception in advertising is illegal. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that advertisers are ignoring this law through their practices of air-brushing, stretching, shaving, and otherwise altering photographic images of models without acknowledging these changes in their final products. In a culture consumed with thinness and perfection, this practice is having a significant and dangerous impact on viewers, particularly young girls and women. This deception in advertising is a substantial contributing factor to eating disorders in America today, and these illnesses are not only becoming more prevalent, they are also becoming more deadly. This project was an effort to protect consumers from the dangers of false advertising in photographic images by proposing legislation requiring advertisers to acknowledge the changes they make to humans in photographs. The proposal requests that acknowledgement be made by placing a statement on or near the picture in the advertisement describing any alterations that have been made to the person in the photo. This researcher went through the process of writing a legislative proposal, delivering the proposal at a conference in which political representatives were in attendance, and further garnering contacts and support for this cause.