A new ‘influencer’ law in Norway has opinions divided – what do you think?
If you’re a social media user and find yourself scrolling through social media images that make you feel inadequate, then you’re not alone. The truth is, so many of these ‘perfect’ images are actually retouched and edited!
Impossibly blemish-free skin, tiny waists, toned tummies… all too often, we’re exposed to photographs that are refined through software like Photoshop and other apps. It doesn’t help that so many social media influencers feel that they have to look a certain way in order to be ‘popular’. It’s a sad, self-perpetuating cycle!
What exactly is an influencer?
For those not in the know, an influencer is classed as “someone (or something) with the power to affect the buying habits or quantifiable actions of others by uploading some form of original—often sponsored—content to social media platforms.” (Wired) So, these people have a lot of influence over the lives and decisions of other people, giving their photo editing antics more potential to cause harm.
Norway has taken a HUGE step in breaking this sad cycle by enacting a new law!
We think that body-positivity campaigners will love this…
This new law is an amendment to the current 2009 Marketing and Control Act in place in Norway, and makes it illegal for advertisers and social media influencers to share promotional photos on their platforms without clearly disclosing if images have been edited or retouched. The new law was passed in Norway’s parliamentary body, Stortinget, with a majority vote of 72-15 on the 2nd of June 2021.
It will go into effect when the King of Norway deems it should, according to the legislative decree. Hopefully soon, then!
Who will be affected by this law?
This new law will affect advertisers and people classed as receiving financial payment or ‘other benefits’ in exchange for posts. This means that influencers, brands and businesses who post sponsored content and ‘gifted’ posts will have to act with caution when it comes to using editing software, on all social media platforms.
The amendment means that disclosures must clearly be made for edits that have been made after the image was taken and before. For example, Snapchat and Instagram filters that change the aesthetic appearance of the user. This disclosure will be a standard image label designed by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.
Examples of retouching that people who are being paid for photographs will be legally required to label include aesthetic adjustments such as enlarged lips, shrunken waists, enhanced muscles and weight loss edits.
Anyone caught breaking this new law in Norway risks being fined, with escalating fines for repeat offenders and possible imprisonment.
What has triggered this new law?
Public pressure from the ‘kroppspress’ (body pressure) movement has led to Norweigan government officials taking this step. In the proposal to the Norwegian parliament, the Ministry of Children and Families referenced studies on body pressure being a contributing factor to low self-esteem in Norweigan youth. The impossible standards set by carefully curated, overly edited social media feeds are having a significant impact on the mental health of young people, so it’s great that Norway is taking this stand.
What could it mean for other countries?
It could certainly be argued that this new law sets an interesting new precedent for other countries – the UK included. It’s too early to say yet, but we will certainly be following this story and adding new updates once it goes into effect.
As mummies ourselves, we certainly understand the motivation behind editing photos.
The changes in our bodies that come with age, growth and motherhood are monumental and can have a HUGE impact on our mental health and self-esteem. Being constantly exposed to retouched photos that don’t show the realities of cellulite, stretch marks, fleshy rolls and boobs that are no longer perky can leave us feeling inadequate, even if we know that those images are, more than likely, photoshopped. It just leads to more and more of us going down the same path of retouching images to allay those feelings of being ‘less’ than – less attractive, less toned, less healthy, less happy.
Well, the tide is turning.
The body-positivity movement is making waves in the online influencer community, and we are HERE for it! Social media influencers like Sarah Landry of The Birds Papaya and Khloe Kuriatnyk are becoming hugely popular with their ‘momsivisity’ posts (mom-positivity).
They share untouched, raw and real images of their lives and the realities of motherhood, and reinforce the truth that our bodies are beautiful and perfect – no photoshop needed. Check out our favourite posts from Sarah and Khloe below!
We hope that this has helped anyone who is struggling with their self-esteem. You are beautiful, glorious and perfect, let’s stop photo editing and celebrate our authentic selves!
Cover image credit: Pixabay
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