The French Parliamentarians have approved a law which makes employment of anorexic fashion models or encourage anorexia illegal, as a part of its efforts to crack down on glorification of ‘dangerously’ thin women. According to the new law, the Body Mass Index (BMI) of fashion models must now be above a certain level. Israel and Spain have already passed similar laws earlier.
The symbolic impact of this law passed by the French lawmakers, it is being believed, will extend beyond the country’s physical boundaries because ‘of its outsized influence in setting style and image trends around the world.’
The lower house of the French Parliament adopted the amendment on models Friday, as part of a larger public health bill working its way through the legislature. After that, the bill goes to a full vote next week before finally going to the Senate.
The amendment forbids anyone with a body mass index below a certain level from earning money as a model. The level — based on height and weight — has not yet been defined. Additionally, modelling agents seen to be flouting the rules by pays a model below that index would face up to six 75,000 Euros by way of fines and a maximum of six months in jail.
“Anyone whose body mass index… is below a certain level will not be able to work as a catwalk model,” it said.
The move would allow agencies to be “severely punished” if they forced models to undergo excessive weight loss, endangering their health, Olivier Veran, the Socialist MP who proposed the bill, told French news channel BFMTV.
He has said there would be regular checks to enforce the rule.
Lawmakers also made it mandatory for all publications to publish a note telling readers when they have altered a picture to make a model look thinner — or less anorexic in addition to targeting those running pro-anorexia websites.
As per the estimates of the French health ministry, nearly 40,000 people in the country suffer from anorexia, 90 percent of them women.