"Off Our Chests" Online Women's Magazine & Apparel Brand Begins Lobbying for Passage of the Self Esteem Act; Works to Engage FTC, Legislators, Madison Avenue and Hollywood in Calling for Warning Labels on Airbrushed or Photoshopped Advertisements and Editorials

Aug 22, 2011, 08:05 ET from Off Our Chests

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Off Our Chests, the women's online magazine and apparel brand, announced today their campaign to secure legislation requiring "truth in advertising" labels be attached to advertisements and editorials where the human form has been modified by photoshopping or airbrushing to a meaningful degree.  In pursuit of the development and passage of the Self Esteem Act, Off Our Chests will be engaging leading figures across the worlds of Washington, DC, Madison Avenue and Hollywood, as well as its own growing community.  

Off Our Chests proposes that significantly modifying someone's appearance without it being clear and obvious is a wrongful act that's led to increasing cases of emotional disorders.  Similar conversations have taken place over the past few years, with others calling for "Warning Labels" on fashion magazine spreads, however, to date, no action has been taken in the U.S.  Off Our Chests advances the conversation on the heels of the recent action taken by a British MP who campaigned to have a L'Oreal advertisement pulled citing it as an example of the "[media's] role in contributing to a negative body image."

"Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive," points out Seth Matlins, who co-founded Off Our Chests with his wife Eva.  "So how is modifying someone's appearance to the point that it misleads people – the ill effects of which are beyond dispute - still legal?  The labels we want to see on ads and editorials are not a judgment of their content but a clarification of fact, intended only to help stem the epidemic crisis of confidence and esteem among girls and women.  We're not saying advertisers can't continue doing exactly what they've been doing, and we're not getting into the conversation about whether they morally should.  We're saying that if they choose to keep doing this, they need to be straight and upfront about it."  

Off Our Chests co-founder Eva Matlins continues, "We can't ignore that our beauty culture is having wildly negative effects on girls and women.  Real, serious, and enduring problems occur when we don't recognize that the images and ideals of the human form being presented in the media are setting unrealistic expectations and standards for our country's female population. Our daughter is five and our son is four, and they're going to start seeing these ads and depictions soon.  We want them to be contextualized each and every time they see one, just like a pack of cigarettes."

The following statistics culled by Off Our Chests demonstrate the problem that has existed for many years:

  • 71% of girls with low self-esteem feel their appearance doesn't measure up. (Dove Self-Esteem Fund)
  • 80 percent of 1000 women polled said images of women on TV and in movies, fashion magazines and advertising make them feel insecure about their looks.  (People Magazine)
  • 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures. (Prevention of Eating Problems with Elementary Children, Michael Levine, USA Today, July 1998)
  • 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. (Ibid)
  • On average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily—nearly one for every waking hour. And a disturbing number of women confess to having 35, 50 or even 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day. (Glamour Magazine)
  • At age thirteen, 53% of American girls are "unhappy with their bodies." This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen. (National Institute on the Media and the Family)

"These numbers show that we've got a societal problem, the consequences of which are having serious effects on individual happiness and well-being, economic productivity, and an astounding number of eating disorder deaths each year," explains Seth. "When generations of women compare themselves to images, ideals and standards that are unattainable, when generations of men are taught to believe that's what people should look like, the evidence for action and change is morally incontrovertible. Conscience and commerce have to co-exist."

About Off Our Chests:  Founded by parents Seth Matlins, a former CAA Agent and Global CMO of Live Nation, and his wife Eva, a former teacher and teen counselor, Off Our Chests is a purpose-driven brand that consists of a curated and user-generated website, www.offourchests.com, seeking to give women a place to express and share their stories in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting.  The brand's dual mottos: "Share your story. Change hers" and "Feel More Better", convey their idea that facilitating thought, sharing, and discussion is the tool that will help women achieve true happiness.  Off Our Chests' high end T-shirt line, sold at Fred Segal, extends the brand's mission with "Chestisms", simple and sometimes cheeky reminders that "life is better lived out-loud, speaking one's truth, and letting one's freak flag fly, even if it's not very freaky at all."

For more information on Off Our Chests, please visit www.offourchests.com.

Contact:  Fox Greenberg Public Relations, 323-933-8900
Sarah Greenberg, sarah@foxgreenberg.com, Kacy Shaw, kacy@foxgreenberg.com, Priya Tanna, priya@foxgreenberg.com

SOURCE Off Our Chests