March 8th is International Women’s Day and iDebate will be debating 'Should the airbrushing of womens' bodies in the media be banned?’ With the recent revelations of sexual abuse across wide swathes of culture, politics, and of course the media should we be considering how women are portrayed in the media. It can be argued that airbrushing objectifies women by making is seem like they must look like a certain ideal. An ideal that is often dictated by men, part of the power disparity and culture that has led to sexual abuse.
International Women’s Day is exactly when we should be taking a closer look at body image, and its effect on young women. But it is not just a womens’ issue; with half a million men in Britain using steroids for cosmetic purposes body image is also increasingly an issue for young men.
But there are wider issues to be touched upon too. In the 100 years since women were given the vote in the UK there has been a march to equality in most areas in theory. But as issues like this show it is sometimes less the case in practice. At the same time airbrushing and other photoshopping techniques intertwine with concerns over fake news. Is it right to be creating what could be considered fake images and then portraying them as if they are real and true to life? As editing techniques become more and more sophisticated it becomes more difficult to see where there have been changes made.
Debating against each other will be two mixed teams of three young people from often deprived backgrounds from some of London’s Further Education colleges. iDebate runs Debate Clubs in a dozen schools and colleges around London with the aim of improving a variety of skills among the participants from public speaking and analysis to teamwork and research skills. They also increase self confidence and provide the opportunity for young people to get their views across to their peers and to a wider audience.