In 2009, France’s lawmakers proposed that images in which a model has been photoshopped be labeled. Now, in 2017, that law is going into effect.
France 24 reports that as of October first, anyone who publishes a photo in which Photoshop is used to “either slim or flesh out” a model’s body without labeling will be subject to a €37,500 fine. This is paired with a law that went on the books in May, which requires models to present a medical certificate from a doctor attesting to their health, in particular their Body Mass Index. Both laws were approved in January 2016.
According to the BBC, the Photoshop rule does not apply to blemishes being removed, nor hair retouching, so there are still various flaws we’ll stop believing exist on other women. Though the idea of banning “excessively thin” models from runways or retouched images was initially mocked, France is treating it as a public health issue:
“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,” Health Minister Marisol Touraine said.
The decision is reminiscent of the UK government recently banning ads that perpetuate gender stereotypes, showing the possible influence legislators can have on advertising. France has also taken steps against “pro-anorexia” websites, passing a law in 2015 that can punish someone advocating for eating disorders with up to a year in jail and a €10,000 fine.