News about ban on ultra-thin catwalk models, announced earlier this year, were confirmed last week: French parliament has passed a bill designed to combat anorexia in fashion modelling and severely thin body images in fashion photography. The new rules apply to both models and model agencies.
According to the “skinny-model ban” law, the models have to demonstrate that their body mass index (BMI) is over 18, which is to be approved by the doctors note. With regards to model agencies, the bill threatens fines of 75,000 euros (~$82,000) and possible imprisonment of up to six months for companies that employ underweight models. Finally, when it comes to regulations over the runway, any commercial photos that have been photoshopped to alter models body shape must be marked with the language “retouched photograph.” Fines for failure to state that will incur a fine of 37,500 euros, (~$40,535) or up to 30% of the amount spent on the advertising featuring the model. The regulation will take effect by January 2017.
Currently 30,000 to 40,000 people in France are reported to suffer from anorexia, 90% of whom are women. 20% of women in France have restricted their food intake at least some time during their lives. By imposing the ban French legislators have taken action to make change on women health and self image.
Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder and is associated with numerous health problems. Medical complications account for more than half of all deaths in patents with anorexia nervosa. The decease affects almost all major organ systems and leads to loss of cellular volume and function, which results in adverse effects on, and atrophy of, the heart, brain, liver, intestines, kidneys, and muscles. However, the encouraging message is that most of these conditions may be reversed with weight gain and cured with nutritional rehabilitation.