As of Friday, April 3, 2015, France passed a new law that would ban models from being “too thin”.
This law was created in efforts to try and prevent eating disorders, and in addition another previously passed law in France forbids any website that encourages people to become excessively thin or promotes eating disorders.
Breaking this new law, and promoting a restrictive diet for a long period of time on a website is punishable up to one year in jail, and a max fine of 100,000 euros.
If a modeling agency allows a person who is underweight to model for them, the agency faces jail time, and a fine of 75,000 euros.
The man behind the bill has stated that it is now mandatory for a model to present a medical record stating that their BMI is 18 or above, and are no less than 121 pounds for a 5’7” frame.
“I think the government can play a crucial role in bringing awareness to all psychiatric and medical conditions, including eating disorders,” Dr. Laura Bumberry, a Clinical Psychologist at Webster Wellness Professionals said. “Designating funds to support research on prevention, education, and treatment of eating disorders, and requiring better insurance coverage for the appropriate level of treatment, are possible steps that can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by this devastating disease.”
Some of the risk factors of eating disorders include: anxiety, perfectionistic traits, low self-esteem, poor body image, as well as family health history in regards to poor eating habits.
France is not the only country to begin a fight against eating disorders at the government level; Italy, Spain, and Israel, have also enacted similar laws in 2013. These laws state that models who are too thin are not allowed to be in advertising campaigns, or participate in catwalk shows.
Some see these new laws are a way to help the fashion industry generate a positive influence:
“This progressive thinking and forward movement has the possibility to set a new standard that rejects the unrealistic western culture ideal of the perfectly shaped human body. A new standard can allow for an appreciation of the infinite variety of human shapes and sizes of the human body throughout every individual’s lifetime,” L&C Counselor Renée Bauer said.
Bauer plays a major role in the annual Lewis and Clark Community College Eating Disorder screenings that started in the 1990’s, and have continued to be shown since.
“The screening provides each participant a questionnaire regarding one’s eating behaviors and attitudes toward food, after which he or she can speak privately with a counselor. Campus and community counselors provide participants with information, make recommendations, and referrals as needed,” Bauer said.
If you’d like to learn more on France’s new law, visit NEDA’s (National Eating Disorders Association) at: http://bit.ly/1G48oQX.