France May Pass a Law Banning Too-Skinny Models

Illustration for article titled France May Pass a Law Banning Too-Skinny Models

France is reportedly likely to pass a bill that would ban very thin models from being featured in advertising campaigns and fashion shows.


Reuters reports that agencies or fashion houses that hire models who are too skinny (which will be determined via weight checks) will be fined, and those responsible for the hiring could face jail time. As Health Minister Marisol Touraine explained:

Models would have to present a medical certificate showing a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 18, about 121 pounds for a height of 5-foot-7, before being hired for a job and for a few weeks afterwards, he said.

"This is an important message to young women, young women who see these models as an aesthetic ideal," Touraine said. "It's important for fashion models to say that they need to eat well and take care of their health."

In 2010, French model Isabelle Caro died of anorexia; Caro had previously been featured in a controversial ad campaign (seen above) by the Italian brand Toscani promoting anorexia awareness, which went up during September 2007 in Milan and was supported by the Italian health minister.

Countries other than France have imposed rulings about overly skinny models (some more strictly enforced than others), like Australia, Italy and Spain. These first laws were spurred by the deaths of several South American models in 2006, whose passings were ultimately credited to their low body weight. If it passes, this new law would also ban pro-ana websites, an area at least one fashion name has fixated her attention on in the last few years.


Image via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty



I get why people might think this is body shaming. But to be honest, my opinion is shaped from experience. I suffered from anorexia in my teens. At one point I weighed 58 pounds, and I probably would have been dead within a week if I hadn't been sectioned.

A lot of things contributed to my illness. Family stuff, genes/susceptibility, bullies. And media. I looked at TV actresses and pop stars and magazines and all I could think is, god, I am not good enough. And there is where the spiral towards death began for me.

Some might say, well, why don't we ban overweight/obese models. You might have a case for that, *if* young girls of 13 and 14 were opening up magazines and seeing obese people plastered all over the pages and lauded as the beauty norm. Or if models on the runway were exclusively those with high BMIs. Or if the everyday vernacular was 'gosh, I'm so THIN, I want to be fat like *such and such*"

Whilst I worry trying to legislate away the problem may be a lumbering approach to a delicate and multi facted problem, I do not think this is body shaming. Not as we know it, anyway.

Anywho, just my opinion, wanted to share as this is obviously a cause close to my heart.