NEWS
30/04/2012 08:42 BST | Updated 03/05/2012 07:47 BST

Ban Airbrushed Photos Aimed At Teens, Says Former Anorexia Sufferer Rachael Johnston

Eating disorder charity B-eat has backed an anorexia sufferer's call to ban airbrushed photos of models in magazines.

Rachael Johnston, a 20-year-old former anorexia suffer, said she was obsessed with images of celebrities when she became ill at just 13.

Now Johnston, who plunged to just 4.5 stone during her illness has launched an e-petition with her mother Lynne which seeks to ban airbrushed images on averts aimed at young children.

Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive of the eating disorder charity B-eat said airbrushed images could be "toxic" and harm the recovery of those with eating disorders.

"Everyone is influenced by images that do not portray reality. For those young people whose sense of self worth is already low- this hyper perfectionism is toxic."

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Ringwood, whose charity supports an all-party parliamentary group on body image added: "We know the difference it would make to all young people's self esteem and body confidence if they could be sure which of the images they see are natural and true to life."

Johnston mentions in the e-petition how those under-16 are the "most vulnerable to body image and body identity security."

"By banning airbrushed images that target the under 16s, it would let the UK become the leading nation in giving the next generation positive and healthy messages through the media," she writes.

She said how magazines and adverts affected her when she became ill, telling the Daily Mail: "I was cutting out pictures of models and celebrities and filling scrapbooks with them. My obsession at the time was Victoria Beckham. I would cut out images of her body and stick my face on the top.

"I would write underneath, “This is what you have to be – she’s perfect'."

The move follows Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson campaigning against heavily airbrushed images. In January L'Oreal adverts for anti-wrinkle cream featuring actress Rachel Weisz were banned and judged to be "misleadingly exaggerated" by the Advertising Standards Association following a complaint from Swinson.