The "Skinny" on Modeling in France
On April 3, 2015, France officially passed a law banning too-thin fashion models. Agencies who continue to hire excessively thin models will be fined up to $82,000 or six months in prison. To be hired for a job, the new legislation states that all models must present medical proof of a body mass index (BMI) of at least 18. France is joining Italy, Spain, and Israel who all passed similar legislation in 2013. A similar ban for runway models is pending in France, though has already passed in Italy, Spain, and Israel. It requires runway models to have a BMI of 18 and weight at least 121 pounds for a 5’7” height. The legislation will enforce regular weight checks.
The law passed just last week also makes it illegal to condone anorexia. This is aimed at websites encouraging dangerous weight-loss and violations can result in a fine up to 100,000 euros or a year in prison. These websites are thought to be playing a primary role in the anorexia epidemic affecting between 30,000-40,000 teenagers across France.
Frankly, this is long over-due. Campaign and runway models shape young girls’ body image so easily. Particularly since the Internet made it so easy to access fashion photos, managing what young girls see has become increasingly important. Making sure the youth see what is healthy and learn that being healthy is attractive is a battle this law is fighting to win. This law is a great step in the right direction, especially since it comes from a country renowned for its fashion. If teenagers can see Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, and Balmain designs represented by healthy models, it is reasonable to think that those teenagers will strive to be healthy as well. We can only hope that the rest of the world will follow Italy, Spain, Israel, and France’s lead and pass similar legislation.
- Samantha Albanese