The Affects Of False Advertising On Teens

2240 words - 9 pages

Today, more than ever, teenage girls are influenced by magazines, billboards, television, movies, and most of all advertisements. While the advertisements of models that have been airbrushed to flawlessness may sell products, the effects on teen girls is undeniable. Over the past decade the numbers of depression, eating disorders, and hypersexuality in young girls has been steadily on the rise. False advertising in way of airbrushing, heavy editing, and photoshopping models has had negative effects on teen girls and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) policy, false advertisement is illegal. It may be stretching it calling photoshopping false advertising, but nonetheless manipulating young, impressionable girls into believing a product will make the thin, beautiful, and popular is false advertising and as stated above, is illegal according to the standards set forth by the FTC.
False advertising is defined as an advertisement, other than labeling, which is misleading in a material respect (uslegal.com). The FTC policy states that anything that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances and that is, important to a consumer's decision to buy or use the product (Advertising faq's: A," 2001). In the past there have been blatantly obvious cases of deception in advertising such as the case of Listerine Mouthwash being a cure all for things such as cold ailments, sore throat, and even dandruff. In court the FTC directed the company to use $10 million dollars to correct the false statements. Another case of blatant false advertising was made clear in early 2008 when the supposed “immune booster” Airborne was taken to court by David Shardt who states that there is no factual evidence that this pill is a curer of colds or an immune booster. The company settled and agreed to pay $23 million dollars in fines for false advertising (Steagall, 2008). While these cases were obviously false, neither impacted the self-esteem of impressionable teenage girls like some of the advertisements of today. Many false advertising cases, which heavily impact teens, come from cosmetics and weight-loss supplement companies which promise immediate results. These results are fueled by the desire to have flawless skin and to be extremely thin, like the models are portrayed as in the advertisements, but what these susceptible young girls do not see is the airbrushing and photoshopping and intense editing that happens before any photos are published. The desire to be like the models in these false advertising cases has caused a spike in depression, eating disorders, and hyper-sexism in teen girls.
Although false advertising laws differ from country to country, in the United States there are two ways that in which false advertisements are regulated. The first way of regulation is taking the company directly to court. This works best if a consumer is able to prove that the advertisement is misleading. In court, if the decision is made in...

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