France Just Passed A Law To Stop Use Of ‘Excessively Thin’ Models

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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France passed a bill Thursday aimed at banning the use of super skinny fashion models by requiring them to obtain a doctor’s medical approval to work in the fashion industry.

The law passed by the French National Assembly requires models to see a doctor, and requires photos that have been edited to alter a model’s appearance to include a caption indicating the alteration. The aim is to do away with the use of “excessively thin” models, reported BBC News.

The new law is also intended to make a positive contribution to public health. Modeling agencies that don’t comply with the new law that requires models to see a doctor to be eligible for employment, could be fined $81,000. Non-complying executives at modeling agencies could also spend six months behind bars.

Magazine and advertising photos which have been edited to alter the physical appearance of a model must now have a caption indicating the alteration. Advertisers that don’t cooperate with this new regulation are either fined 30 percent of the production costs for the advertisement or a flat fee of just over $40,000.

Spain, Israel, and Italy have similar laws.

Anorexia affects between 30,000 and 40,000 French people per year, and most of them are teenagers. Nine in ten of them are women.

An initial draft of the law proposed having doctors determine if models could work based on their Body Mass Index (BMI). But after protests and lobbying from modeling agencies and the fashion industry, the law requires doctors to determine employment eligibility based on a combination of age, weight, and overall body shape.

Due to the international nature of the fashion industry, it is unclear how much of an effect this law will have on models. Ninety percent of models that work in France are not from France, and few claim it as their country of residence.

According to the documentary Girl Model, the US produces more models than any other country. The US does not have any laws on the books to regulate the modeling industry.

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