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Girls & Women

CVS Is Banning Photoshopped Photos for Product Promotion

Courtesy of CVS

For women across the US, shopping for cosmetics at the drugstore just got a little bit less stressful. 

Pharmaceutical company CVS announced this week that it will not longer feature photoshopped or “materially altered” images to promote its products, according to the New York Times, and it urged the brands it carries to do the same.

"As a woman, mother, and president of a retail business whose customers predominantly are women, I realize we have a responsibility to think about the messages we send to the customers we reach each day," Helena Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy and Executive Vice President, CVS Health, said in a statement.

In 2016, the mayor of London caused a stir when he banned “body-shaming ads,” including those that are heavily photoshopped and encourage women and girls to strive for unrealistic body types. But experts have said that airbrushed and altered ads negatively impact people’s conceptions of body image — particularly among women and girls — according to the Huffington Post.

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CVS’s move to strike altered ads from its nearly 10,000 stores across the US by 2020 is “really a response to the bigger conversation women are having over their own level of empowerment in society,” Foulkes told the New York Times.

In its own ads the pharmaceutical giant has committed to no longer “changing or enhancing a person's shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles or any other individual characteristics,” a CVS press release said.

The company will also add a “CVS Beauty Mark” to all unretouched images that it uses in its branding and advertising in an effort to increase transparency and to empower shoppers to feel comfortable in their own skins.

Read more: Harmful Gender Stereotypes in Ads Are Everywhere, and This Advertising Watchdog Is Finally Cracking Down

"The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established,” Foulkes said. “As a purpose-led company, we strive to do our best to assure all of the messages we are sending to our customers reflect our purpose of helping people on their path to better health."

Global Citizen campaigns to empower women and girls around the world. You can take action here to support gender equality and help eliminate discrimination that holds girls and women back from realizing their full potentials.