The Fake Scale Campaign

Well babeses, as you know, my four-year-old daughter Milly got herself into a state about not having a thigh gap, when all the ladies in magazines have one. So I have an awesome idea to show the amount of fake-ness in media images, like the ones little Mills is unfortunately aspiring to. I had one of my remote outsourced people write this:

What is the Fake Scale?

The Fake Scale is a request to the media to rate, on a scale of zero to three, how much an image has been digitally manipulated. Similar to warnings on cigarette and alcohol packaging, and here in Singapore, on some magazine covers, the Fake Scale rating provides a clear indication of how real or unreal a glossy photo is.

Responsible media

Why the need for the Fake Scale?

The need for this campaign lies in the ever-increasing problem of unrealistic body image aspirations, particularly for girls and women, and the consequent tragedies of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, obsessive rumination on outer appearance, and harmful excessive cosmetic interventions. Granted, the media is not solely to blame for these outcomes, but a responsible media should be doing everything in its power to minimise its contribution. Here are some facts about body image, taken from Skin Deep: debating body image – Volume 234 on the Independence Educational Publishers website:

  • At the age of five, children begin to understand other people’s judgement of them. At seven they’re beginning to show body dissatisfaction. As adults, 90% of British women feel body-image anxiety, and many women in their 80’s are still anxious about the way their bodies look.
  • Half of all 16- to 21-year-old women would consider cosmetic surgery and in the past 15 years eating disorders have doubled.
  • Rates of depression in women and girls doubled between 2000 and 2010; the more women self-objectify, the more likely they are to be depressed.
  • 40% of young adults have used, or asked someone else to use, airbrushing techniques to make a photo of themselves look more attractive.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For more facts and resources, Google “body image”, or see these sites:

Just Say Yes, U.S.

Be Real, U.K.

What is the strategy?

The idea has two key features: the icons, and a team of global Co-Captains.

1. Icons

The Fake Scale is indicated by these icons, to be placed in the corner of an image:

FSzero_icon_4x4in FSone_icon_4x4in FStwo_icon_4x4in FSthree_icon_4x4in

Created by graphic designer Petra Pirinin at Creabuena, the number of stars shows the degree of digital manipulation an image has undergone. No stars means that the photo is as it was originally taken by the photographer. One star shows there has been some airbrushing. Two stars indicates airbrushing and light photo-shopping. Three stars is the maximum manipulation rating, for example when areas of the body have been removed or  heavily distorted.

2. Global Co-Captains

In order to get the idea out there and generate feedback, EJ needs as many non-fictional Co-Captains as possible. As a Co-Captain, here are some ways to participate:

A. If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc, share images that you believe have or have not been manipulated, inserting #thefakescale, and your rating. So a tweet with the image might read: .@ExpatEJ #thefakescale three!!

B. Create an image of yourself or another consenting adult in two versions (see below), displaying the Fake Scale icons (grab them from above) on each one to indicate no manipulation vs major manipulation. You don’t need to have Photoshop to do this. Here are some apps, or send EJ the images by email, or post on the Facebook page, and we’ll add the icons.

C. If you like the idea, but you’re low on time, just share this page.


Here is an example of how the icons are applied:

FS demo 1 star  FS demo3 stars

So that’s how it works, babeses! Any thoughts, plz drop me a line in the comments. EJ xx

9 thoughts on “The Fake Scale Campaign

  1. Pingback: The Fake Scale, Babeses! | Diary of an Expat Somebody

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