Airbrushing: Pretty as a Picture

What do young women in the UK really think of airbrushing? And what is its impact?

Following an increasing number of calls for changes to the way adverts represent models, we decided to find out what the consumers themselves think.

For this report Credos interviewed young women aged 10-18, and separately their mums, which was complemented by a survey of 1000 young women aged 10-21. These conversations gave us new insight – young women have a strong awareness of what ‘airbrushing’ means and its prevalence in advertising. Girls still place importance on appearance. But education about airbrushing helps girls interpret and decode the images they see in ads. What is more, they tend to favour more natural images in advertising, and trust brands that heavily airbrush less.

This report is injecting some real world relevance to airbrushing conversations between industry, opinion makers, and politicians. The ad industry is facing this challenge head on. A responsible approach to airbrushing and increased diversity in advertising is needed.

The report has been well received in both industry and politics. Various brands and agencies have incorporated the results into their work, while Lynne Featherstone MP has even taken the report to the UN in New York.

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To find out more about our #OpenMyEyes Campaign in collaboration with Media Smart UK, or to access your free Body Image teaching resources, simply click the button below.

Source: Credos (This article was first published on, and is shared here with their permission.)

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