Is Airbrushing Ethical?

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In 2009, the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) changed or withdrew 2,397 advertisements for being misleading. The development of computers and digital image editing software, such as Photoshop has increased false advertising. However, authoritative organisations such as ASA and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) accept a limited amount of “airbrushing” in advertisements. This opens the debate of whether controlled airbrushing is ethical or not. Because airbrushing in advertising constitutes distortion of an image, it is deceitful ; given that it influences society’s reality, it is pervasive ; since it may harm consumers’ well-being , it is harmful: excess or controlled airbrushing, by all means and purposes, is unethical.
To begin with, misleading advertising is the commercial speech “that can deceive consumers by ambiguity, through presentation or by omitting important information […] or including false information.” It is subject to federal regulation. Before 1895 fraudulent advertising was everywhere. It was not until 1893 to 1911 “when standards were in the making” due to the acknowledgement of ethical dilemmas of false advertising: deceiving the consumer and dishonesty.
To continue, the development of new technologies, such as computers and image editing software, has increased and redefined the nature of false advertising. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop have made the digital manipulation of images possible. One of the functions of this software is “airbrushing”, which in this context refers to the technique used to conceal, eliminate, or alter the appearance of flaws. Image editing software has facilitated the “re-touching of photographs related to any characteristics directly relevant to the apparent ...

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