Anoresia or Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by immoderate food restriction and irrational fear of gaining weight, as well as a distorted body self-perception. It typically involves excessive weight loss and is usually found more in females than in males. This restriction of food intake causes metabolic and hormonal disorders.
An airbrush is a small, air operated tool that sprays various media including ink and dye, but most often paint by a process of nebulisation. Spray guns were developed from the airbrush and are still considered a type of airbrush.
A young woman now 24 yrs old, called Rachel Johnson from Warrington, who at 17 weighed 28 kgs (4.5 stone) was wearing clothes made for nine-year-olds. She was then so ill with anorexia, perhaps just two days away from death, thinks it will help stop impressionable young girls seeking – and starving themselves – trying to attain the impossible ‘Perfection’.
She says her eating disorder was made worse by photoshopped pictures of celebrities in magazines.
If girls like Rachel can’t look at pictures of beautiful women in glossy magazines – airbrushed or not – without wanting to starve themselves, sometimes to death, then no law in the world is going to change that.
Now healthy again, she and her mum Lynne have started an online petition to get airbrushing in photos aimed at children and young people banned.
“What I’ve said is, you aim for a ban and then, if a ban doesn’t happen, at least you can talk about putting a logo or a description next to it,” she said.
“I’d be happy for a logo to be put next to [a photo] to warn readers it’s been airbrushed.
“Not everyone can tell if a picture’s been airbrushed.”
Rachael first started developing anorexia at the age of 13 after her grandmother died and she started being bullied at school. After dieting for two years, she was admitted to hospital in March 2007 after collapsing at home. She then spent five months in a ward in 2009 before slowly returning to full health
Rachael now visits schools to try to warn young people about the dangers of eating disorders but says many children don’t believe that some celebrity photos are airbrushed.
Rachael says that at one point she was buying hundreds of celebrity magazines a week out of her pocket money. Her mum and dad didn’t even realise what she was buying because she was buying them on the way to school.
“You get very secretive when you get an eating disorder or struggle with your image. You’re really good at hiding things.”
While you respect this young woman for her beliefs, the truth is that as a society you cannot legislate for everything that may – or not – influence people suffering from anorexia or any other condition.