The Lower House of Parliament of France plans to pass legislation that will ban underweight models.
This legislation was proposed in regards to anorexia, including the dangerous effects it has on the models and the easily-influenced people viewing them.
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which a person starves him or herself to achieve the “perfect body.”
The bill requires models to have a healthy BMI (body mass index) of at least 18. That is a big leap from the average 16 BMI of a model, meaning they are drastically underweight.
Freshman Aarushi Pandey says, “I think this ban has good intentions, but everyone naturally has different body types. Some models could have healthy eating habits, but have a difficult time gaining weight because of their fast metabolism.”
This bill could have a severe effect on several models, model agencies, and/or agents, including loss of jobs and even jail time for the companies advertising underweight models.
Agencies that hire and use models who are underweight will be forced to pay a fine of €75,000 or more, and the agent and staff could go to prison for up to six months.
Along with the passing of this bill, lawmakers also decided that re-touching or photoshop of any kind done for commercials must be mentioned in a disclaimer during the commercial. Failure to state that the photo was retouched will result in a fine of €37,500.
Websites that promote anorexia and urge their readers to strive for thinness and starvation also face major charges. Website managers and creators can face up to a year in prison, along with a fine of €10,000.
Freshman Alexa Gill says, “I think it’s a good idea to get rid of terrible influences that support this disease. This ban helps viewers including teens and other people who get easily influenced and pressured to be a certain way. But I just don’t think the actual models will actually benefit from this action. There should be a more effective way to get rid of this disease, but this ban is a good start.”
This ban is only limited to France, but it could cause an effect in other countries as well. In the the United States alone, there are over 10 million anorexic females and one million anorexic males. In France, there are about 40,000 cases of anorexia, of which 90 percent are women. These women are usually young adults and teenagers.
France is not the only country that has banned the use of anorexic models. Countries like Italy and Israel have already taken up the issue and passed a similar law in the past years – Italy in 2006 and Israel in 2012.
The people of France have different views on the ban, some believing it will do no good and others hoping for a positive change in the fashion industry. What do you think the outcome of this ban will be, and do you think it could solve anything at all?