'Extremely' thin models banned in France

Published: May 6, 2017
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French models at a fashion show. PHOTO: REUTERS

French models at a fashion show. PHOTO: REUTERS

A law banning extremely thin and unhealthy models has been passed in France. Models are now required to pass an overall health test, especially regarding their body mass index [BMI], which measures a relation of height and weight. They will also need to provide a doctor’s certificate which approves their overall physical health.

According to the health ministry, their aim is to fight against issues such as eating disorders or beauty ideals which are inaccessible. Additionally, photographs which have been digitally altered or retouched are required to be labelled starting October 1, this year. Up to 30,000 to 40,000 people in France are anorexic, of which approximately 90 per cent are women.

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Previously the bill had suggested a minimum BMI which led to protests from various France-based modelling agencies. However, the final version gives doctors the right to determine if a model is below accepted physical health or not. A fine of up to 75,000 euros ($82,000) will be given to employers for breaking the law, along with up to six months jail-time.

In a statement, on Friday, Marisol Touraine, France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, said that “Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour.”

Besides France countries including Italy, Spain and Israel have also passed laws regarding underweight models.

This story originally appeared on BBC.

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