Photos of impossibly thin women should have to carry a symbol if they have been altered on a computer, Government minister Lynne Featherstone says.
She says women are made to feel inadequate by images of flawless stick-thin models staring out at them from magazines.
Such images are routinely ‘airbrushed’, meaning the models are slimmed-down or retouched on a computer to accentuate certain features and make skin look flawless.
The Lib Dem minister will push for airbrushed photos to carry a notice either as a kitemark or in small print just underneath the picture.
She will also put pressure on magazine editors and advertisers not to use photos of skinny models.
“I am very keen that children and young women should be informed about airbrushing so they don’t fall victim to looking at an image and thinking that anyone can have a 12-inch waist”, she said.
“It’s so not possible. Advertisers and magazine editors have a right to publish what they choose, but women and girls also have a right to feel comfortable in their own bodies. At the moment they are being denied that.”
She added: ‘All women have felt that pressure of having to conform to an unrealistic stereotype, which plagues them their whole life.”
The new coalition Government has promised to tackle the increasing sexualisation of youngsters.
Speaking before the general election, David Cameron said he plans to penalise companies who market their products inappropriately to children.
He said: “More and more today, sexual-provocative images are invading public space – space shared by children.
“In the Tube station, at the bus stop, on the billboard – there’s the creeping sense that we’re sleepwalking to a place where ‘porn is the norm’.”
He added: “After all, it’s our shared responsibility to protect children from aggressive commercialism and premature sexualisation.
“This is not about being prudish or old-fashioned. It’s about remembering the simple pleasures of our own childhood – and making sure our children can enjoy them too.”