Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 18 January 2022
BOSWORTH MP Dr. Luke Evans has met with The Vamps star James Brittain-McVey, who is backing his Body Image Bill, which has been introduced in Parliament.
Dr. Evans met with the lead guitarist and singer for the popular British boy band in Parliament five days ago (13 January), where they discussed body image, physical and mental health, and Brittain-McVey’s experiences with the pressures of social media.
In a clip posted on Dr. Evans’ TikTok account, Brittain-McVey, said: “I’ve come to meet Dr. Luke Evans MP and I’m really, really excited because we’ve been speaking about mental health and body image, and that’s something that’s very very personal to me.”
Evans, who is both a GP and MP, is calling for all digitally-alerted body proportions in advertising to sport a logo, which would be similar to how commercial UK TV shows have to display the ‘P’ symbol for product placement.
The bill has been designed in a bid to help tackle the effects of unhealthy – and unrealistic – depictions of the way that we look, as Dr. Evans believes this can ‘drive a range of harmful consequences on body confidence, and physical and mental health’.
If the bill was passed, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who regulate advertising across all media and platforms, would look at where the logo would be placed, consider what qualifies as ‘edited’ and what is a ‘commercial purpose’.
The Body Image Bill was first presented in Parliament in September 2020, which gained support from the House of Commons and the wider public.
Dr. Luke, said: “The New Year is often a period when there is increased pressure on body image, exercise and dieting, so I couldn’t think of a better time to reintroduce my Body Image Bill into Parliament.
“In my role as a GP before becoming an MP, I saw first-hand how unrealistic adverts can have a real, tangible and dangerous impact on eating disorders and body confidence issues.”
He continued: “In instances where an image has been edited for commercial purposes, or where somebody has edited an image they are being paid to post, it is absolutely right that the image should carry a disclaimer.
“These edited body images do not represent reality, and are helping to perpetuate a warped sense of reality, with real consequences for people suffering with body confidence issues.
He concluded: “My hope is that we, as consumers and social media users, never actually see this disclaimer, as advertisers, broadcasters and publishers no longer feel the need to fundamentally alter proportions or body shapes.
“If they still feel it necessary to edit commercial images to feature unrealistic body types, this bill helps to increase honesty and transparency.”
According to research carried out by the Women and Equalities Committee last year, 61 per cent of adults and 66 per cent of children felt negative, or very negative, about their body image “most of the time”.
Research carried out by the Girl Guides in 2017 shows that 88 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 said they wanted adverts which had been airbrushed to say so.
Similar laws are already in place in France, where any commercial image which has been enhanced must be labelled as such, and feature a label, reading: “edited photograph” – and non-complying companies will be slapped with a fine.
Another law like this was introduced in Norway last year.
As well as this, stock image agency, Getty Images, have banned retouched images from their commercial categories.