In an attempt to bring body ideals closer to reality, France bans extremely thin models and implements labels indicating retouched images. This ban is strongly criticized by fashion agencies around the country.
The amendment states that “Anyone whose body mass index… is below a certain level will not be able to work as a model”. Agencies found to be working with models considered too thin under the new law risk a fine up to 75,000 euros ($85,000) and employers can even spend 6 months in prison.
Although people encouraging this new law consider that the punishment “will have the effect of regulating the entire sector”, those in the fashion industry are highly against it. France’s National Union of Modeling Agencies or SYNAM says this new legislature will generate confusion, as it doesn’t take into consideration that some models are naturally thin. They argue that people will consider all models to be anorexic or bulimic, ignoring the fact that some people are just born skinny.
Isabelle Saint-Felix, the head of SYNAM argued that people should look at all the factors involved in anorexia, not just the body mass index (or BMI) – “psychological, a history of hair loss and dental problems”. She added that models’ health is of upmost importance but that “it’s a little simplistic to think there won’t be any more anorexics if we get rid of very thin models.”
Despite this, the National Assembly lower house of parliament is determined to implement this law, following the examples of Spain, Italy and Israel who have taken similar measures.
It was also voted to prohibit the encouragement of being excessively thin. This law was aimed at “pro-ana” websites that promote anorexia or bulimia. If the law is implemented such crimes will be punishable with one year of incarceration and a 10,000 euros fine.
In France, there are between 30,000 and 40,000 people suffering from such life threatening eating disorders as anorexia nervosa. Most of these people are adolescents.
Another amendment voted on Friday April 3 was in regards to photoshopped images requiring to be labeled as such. This law is aimed at commercial images so it wouldn’t affect other categories such as artistic photos.
The fine for breaking this proposed law would be about 37,500 euros or 30 percent of the budget invested in that certain advertising campaign.
Image Source: International Business Times