People talk endlessly about fashion models – how they are far too skinny and serve as an unrealistic example of what women should look like, which of course, is all true.
But, now the French government is actually trying to do something about it. They are working to pass legislation that would require models to present a doctor’s certificate indicating that they are at a healthy enough weight to work. This would be predicated on the model’s body mass index, or BMI. All models would have to fall into the normal weight, not the underweight range in order to work.
Evidently, the famous Paris fashion houses are not speaking out one way or another on this proposal. Conversely, the union of modeling agencies is fervently opposed to this law, claiming it is very unfair and inaccurate. This objection may be less about the law and more about the consequences. It seems that anyone employing models without such certificates would be penalized, both financially and potentially with six months in jail.
The government is not confining legislation to the modeling industry. They are also seeking to outlaw Internet sites that promote the practice of anorexia. Additionally, they want to require any computer-generated alteration of photos to be acknowledged. So, if a models waistline is reduced or her legs are lengthened through artificial means, it must be stated.
As far as I am concerned, this pending legislation is overwhelmingly positive on every possible level. Runway models epitomize the “sick” ideal that is also reinforced daily in fashion magazines throughout the United States. The concept that pro eating disorder websites would cease to exist is beyond wonderful. And imagine living in a world where there was real truth in advertising? If a photo was “improved” by someone wielding a mouse, we would know it. The great hope would be that no longer would insecure women and girls look at a model with a 15-inch waistline and wonder why they could not achieve that goal. Even better, now that the proverbial cat was out of the bag, perhaps the advertising industry would stop doing it altogether.
We applaud the positive action taken by the French government; if successful, perhaps American legislators will consider doing likewise. It’s time for all of us to partner together to end the eating disorder epidemic.