Skinny Models

From now on, ‘skinny’ models in France will have to prove that they’re healthy. A new law that has been passed that requires models to gain a certificate from their doctor to prove that they’re not suffering from any eating disorders. Originally the law stated models needed a BMI of 18, but it was argued that a BMI of a person doesn’t indicate a healthy or unhealthy body, so this element was changed.

Unhealthy models
Imax Tree

Surely this can only do good for the world of fashion, where it is commonplace for models to come under vicious scrutiny for their shape and weight, and will often undergo drastic measures to become the desirable size. Any breaches in this law can lead to a fine  of 75,000 euros, and even a jail sentence of up to 6 months!

But why would someone want to try and avoid this? It’s not requiring an individual to be of a certain weight or size, just that the person in question is healthy (taking into account their gender, height, and build).

In an interesting turn, the law also requires publications to label an image when it has been altered or ‘touched up’, but only if it has been manipulated in such a way that affects the appearance of the silhouette to make it ‘narrower or wider’.

Unhealthy models
Pascal Le Segretain/ Getty Images

30,000 – 40,000 adolescents are currently living with anorexia nervosa, which has a high mortality rate, so it’s great to see France tackling a clear social issue without fear of industry backlash. Is it something UK magazines and models should also adopt?

The only clear qualm with this bill is how it currently only applies to ‘skinny’ models; surely it would be better for everyone if all models needed to get the all clear from the doctor. A skinny lifestyle isn’t necessarily an unhealthy one and the rise in demand for plus size models could also promote an unhealthy lifestyle in order to achieve the desired figure.

Clearly not of huge issue yet, but why scrutinise one body type and not another? Surely any unhealthy models should have to adhere to this new law?

It is unclear how the fashion industry will respond to this law; will models from overseas also have to adhere to this law?

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