The French government is proposing legislation that would require influencers to label content augmented with filters or retouching, as well as ban them from promoting plastic surgery as part of paid partnerships.

In a tweet posted on March 24, France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire explained that enacting such a law would help "limit the destructive psychological effects of [filters and retouching] on internet users' self esteem." The country's National Assembly is currently discussing the measure, as well as plans to launch a dedicated team within the Directorate General for Consumer Affairs, Competition and Fraud Prevention to regulate influencers.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Twitter post.

This isn't the first time France has sought to increase transparency in media and advertising. In 2017, the country passed a law mandating that images featuring Photoshopped models — specifically, models whose bodies had been altered — be accompanied by a disclaimer reading "retouched photographed."

Six years later, the conversation surrounding retouching and other forms of digital augmentation has reignited, thanks to the cornucopia of face-altering filters that exist on social media (see: TikTok's Bold Glamour filter, which has sparked a deluge of conversation on the havoc these unsettlingly realistic digital effects can wreck on our mental health and self-esteem).

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

While there's not a lot of research (not yet, at least) indicating that beauty filters such as Bold Glamour negatively impact adults' mental health, it is clear that heavy social media use — and the exposure to manipulated images that inevitably accompanies endless Instagram and TikTok scrolling — is linked to poor body image in adolescent girls.

Still, France's well-intentioned legislation requiring influencers to disclose filters and retouching might not have the intended effect. Data suggests that labeling manipulated photos and videos doesn't actually quell viewers' desire to embody the unrealistic beauty standards peddled in those images — in fact, a 2019 study conducted by the University of Flinders found that exposure to images touting retouching disclaimers increased women’s dissatisfaction with their own bodies.

Basically: Labeling manipulated images doesn't make people feel better about themselves.

So where does that leave us? To begin to break down the preponderance of filters and retouching on social media is to pose a daunting question: Why are people filtering and retouching in the first place? I'm no academic, but I'd say it has something to do with pressure to conform to conventional beauty standards.

Of course, our notions of beauty are so deeply entrenched in culture that to topple them isn't exactly an easy, straightforward feat. Beauty standards and their racist, misogynist trappings are a systemic issue — and France is right to propose legislation aiming to provide a systemic solution for a systemic issue. Unfortunately, research suggests that regulating influencers and their selfies isn't likely to do much good. Back to the drawing board.

We Recommend
  • What's Going on With TikTok's 'Veneer Techs?'
    • Beauty
  • Miley Cyrus Is Actually Kinda Really Good at Low-Key Style
    • Style
  • 7 Reasons Why Eating Weed Is Actually Good for Your Health
    • Culture
  • Forget Dior's New Look — Meet Dior's New Smell
    • Beauty
  • Stéphane Ashpool Adds Pizazz to France's Olympic 'Fits
    • Style
What To Read Next
  • NIGO's Debut Nike Collab Is Surprisingly Luxury
    • Sneakers
  • Ayo Edebiri, Fashion Super Saiyan
    • Style
  • Puma’s Y2K Cool-Kid F1 Shoe Is Coming Back
    • Sneakers
  • From Claire's to Limited Too, Tween Mall Brands Are Cool Again
    • Style
  • Salehe Bembury Made a Classic New Balance Dad Shoe Lemony Fresh
    • Sneakers
  • Nicole McLaughlin Radically Upgraded HOKA's Chunkiest Hiker
    • Sneakers
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.