While many countries around the world talk of regulating their fashion industries to ensure the health and general wellbeing of their models are paramount, France has taken legitimate steps to make sure this always remains the case.
France introduced new laws banning unhealthily thin women from catwalks announced earlier this year, and now they’ve taken things a step further and adopted a bill forcing models to provide a doctor’s certificate confirming they are healthy, and magazines to label Photoshopped images as “touched up.” Parliamentarians retreated from an earlier version of the bill that would have established a minimum body mass index (BMI) for all models, instead opting to let doctors themselves decide what “healthy” means for every individual.
According to the Guardian, the bill stipulates that models must obtain a medical certificate stating that their health, “assessed in particular in terms of body mass index, is compatible with the practice of the [modelling] profession”. Breaches of the law will be punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of €75,000.
The lawmakers also voted to denounce the photoshopping of model images in magazines; if any are altered to “make the silhouette narrower or wider,” these are to be labelled as such to inform readers. While this marks another positive example for which the worldwide industry can follow (there has been endless criticism over the use of models deemed too thin in fashion shows), the fact that doctors can decide themselves on a healthy weight for the individual (a standard healthy BMI overall would likely be a more solid option) could create issues, as what one professional deems healthy, another may not and so on.
Over in the UK, a model is fighting to have a similar law put in place and many celebrities have spoken out against airbrushing in magazines, so it will be interesting to see what effect this new ruling has on the standards currently in place for models as a whole.
The amendments were previously lambasted by French model agencies who warned against confusing anorexia and thinness and accused the government of stigmatising agencies.
“It’s very serious to conflate anorexia with the thinness of models and it ignores the fact that anorexia is a psychogenic illness,” Isabelle Saint-Felix, secretary general of Synam, which represents around 40 modelling agencies in France, said. She makes a valid point. There is a difference between being slim (as some naturally are) and being so underweight that it affects your health, but hopefully, the new ruling will see those who are already skinny protected from being told to do obscene things to their bodies such as to “slim down to the bone” or be “skinnier than skinny.”
Via The Guardian