No consent, No story: Stop the media from commenting on peoples appearance without consent

No consent, No story: Stop the media from commenting on peoples appearance without consent

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Our Own Bodies started this petition to Memebers of Parliament and

Newspapers, tabloids and magazines continue to violate people, specifically those in the public eye, by commenting on their physical appearance without their consent. The current rhetoric used by media outlets is extremely damaging to people’s perception of themselves. 

Laws and Regulations need to be put in place to prevent journalists from commenting on the physical appearance of people without their consent. 

Over the last 30-40 years the prevalence of eating disorders has increased. According to eating disorder charity ‘BEAT’ an estimate of over 1.6 million people struggle with an eating disorder through the UK. 

The 2017, ‘Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report’ found that two thirds of girls in the UK do not have high body self esteem. It also found that 9 out of 10 girls in the UK will not spend time with family and friends, participate in activities outside the house or try out for a team or club if they aren’t happy with the way they look. 

Leon Festinger in the 1950’s proposed the ‘Social Comparison Theory’ Which states that people rely on external models on which to form their self perceptions. 

The ‘Tripartite Model of Social Comparison Theory’ argues there are three motivations for self comparison with others these are: self evaluation, self improvement and self enhancement.

‘Psychology Today’ also stated that ‘recognising the risk associated with presenting adolescents with an unrealistic standard of beauty can help combat the current obsession with thinness’. 

It is clear that the way in which people’s bodies are criticised in the media for not ‘fitting’ a certain ‘standard of beauty’ has an extremely detrimental effect on the mental health of the country. 

The IPSO ‘Editors Code’ currently states that ‘ editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individuals private life without consent’. However it has failed to prevent the extremely damaging and dangerous discussion of the size, shape and overall appearance of a persons body in the media. Our bodies are possibly one of the most personal and private part about us therefore should not be reduced to a headline. 

Commenting and criticising on a persons physical appearance without their consent is not journalism it is bullying disguised as ‘news’ and it is the duty of our Government and the Editors Code of Practice Committee to change this. We need to put the mental health of the country above the press.

 

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