'Pretty as a picture'

Topic Selected: Body Image

General Article icon Type: General Article

Do young women understand the term ‘airbrushing’?

It has been claimed that young women don’t realise that images in adverts have been airbrushed. This has resulted in calls for a ‘kite mark’ to be placed on photographs which have been digitally enhanced, to alert consumers to the practice. However, our research shows that young women are already well aware of the widespread digital manipulation of everyday images
Some 84% of young women know what the term ‘airbrushing’ means. The number is high even among pre-teens: over half (58%) say they understand the term, with awareness rising to 97% amongst 16–21-year-olds.
These high levels of understanding are also reflected in the fact that 40% of young adults have used, or asked someone else to use, airbrushing techniques to make a photo of themselves look more attractive. The focus group discussions suggest that such photos are probably those posted on Facebook. One 14-year-

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