The other day I was listening to a radio talk show as I drove home. It was call in time and the lines were open to discuss any issue that callers had on their minds. A lady who wanted to remain anonymous made a comment about how excited she was that there was a ban on skinny models in France. This lady who has a teenage girl who suffers from an eating disorder felt like this was a great step in the right direction.
Curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t just take her on her word so I had to research it. As soon as I got home I opened up my laptop and searched the internet.
Here are the facts:
- The measure is part of a campaign against anorexia by President Francois Hollande’s government. This comes after health experts estimate that about 30,000-40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, most of them teenagers.
- Women applying for modelling jobs in the country will now have to submit medical certificates proving that they are in good health and that their body mass index is not dangerously low. This means that although a model may look “too skinny” if a medical professional deems such a model as healthy she will get a certificate.
- Modelling agencies that don’t require such certificates face fines of about $80,000 and possible imprisonment for up to six months.
- Another provision of the law is that photographs of women in which their size has been edited MUST be accompanied with the caption “retouched photograph.”
Now I am all for these measures. In fact, I think this is one of the best things since sliced bread. But we need to look at some other things too. 90% of models in French fashion shows are foreigners passing through France. Will they be subjected to this or is it just for natives of the land? Doesn’t this open up a new avenue where models pay doctors to give them a clear health check?
I guess this is a good start though. One of the major fashion hubs of the world is recognizing that health is more important than size and for that I must applaud the French government. This will also begin the positive route to end size shaming in the future, as skinny will no longer be the standard.
The retouched photograph law is set to go into effect by January of next year, but for now, there is no timeline in place for the implementation of the law regarding the BMIs of the models themselves.
What are your thoughts on the issue fellow squad ladies?
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Written by: Hulisani Khorombi, Staff Writer, #mygirlsquad