Pretty as a Picture, CREDOS, 2011

Some of the links in my previous post about plus sized models refers to a report called “Pretty as a Picture, CREDOS, 2011 so I thought it best to look into this report further and to see who carried out the data collection and who funded/commissioned it to get an understanding on their perspective.

The Federation of Image Professionals has a post that explains who CREDOS is and their purpose.  It is:

Credos is advertising’s independently-governed think tank. It was launched by the Advertising Association in 2010. Credos’ mission is to ‘understand advertising’: its role, how it works, how it is perceived, and its value to UK society and the economy. Credos is funded by the advertising industry, but overseen by an advisory board which assures the quality, objectivity and transparency of its work.

Started in 2010 by the Advertising Association its mission is to “understand advertising, its role, how it works, how it is perceived and its value to UK society and the economy”.  This seems to be a fantastic idea but I am slightly concerned by the and the economy part of the quote as does this may mean that there is potential for a biased view depending on who is funding the projects?

The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association have published a special paper on “Body Image and Self-esteem” which has contributions from:

  • Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equalities
  • Lucy Beresford, Writer and Psychotherapist
  • Jo Swinson, MP
  • Richard Darlington, Head of News, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Karen Fraser, Credos Director
  • Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Each has a different perspective on the problem of airbrushing and body confidence and the report makes interesting reading.  Of special interest to me was the part of the report by Karen Fraser in which she discusses how airbrushing was seen by young women and has photographic evidence of this process – much like I would like to do with my ladies for my dissertation questionnaires.  The PDF of the report can be found at

Jo Swinson writes the foreword for the Government Equalites Office – Body confidence campaign – Progress report 2013.  In her foreword she states that:

It has become so normal, so everyday, for people to worry about what they look like that it is easy to ignore the real problems this creates. Growing up in a society where mass media is fixated on a narrowly defined image of beauty and the celebrities that embody it is damaging the outlook and self-esteem of our children and teenagers – and adults are not immune to these concerns. Of course, individuals differ in their confidence and resilience. But research shows that many people – particularly young people – are having their self-confidence corroded by the belief that their looks are the most important thing about them.

For several years I have been disturbed by the sheer amount of energy, ambition and opportunity wasted by low body confidence. That is why Lynne Featherstone and I started working on this issue back in 2008, and I am delighted to be following in Lynne’s footsteps as the Minister for Women and Equalities with responsibility for taking it forward within Government.

As a Minister in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, I am also very aware of the critical importance of releasing women’s full potential contribution to economic growth. In order to do this we need to address the remaining structural barriers – by modernising workplaces and ensuring access to flexible, accessible, affordable childcare. However we also need to tackle the cultural barriers, which include raising girls’ aspirations and vision of all the ways in which they can be valued and fulfilled.


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