France’s Parliament adopted an amendment in order to make it illegal to use anorexic models or to boost anorexia.
Other countries like Spain or Israel have taken similar measures targeting the glorification of extremely thin women. The French action would only apply within France’s territory, but could also have international repercussions.
The lower house of Parliament passed the amendment on anorexic models Friday. The French lawmakers are making a push for public health bill which is at the start of the legislature process. The bill will go to a full vote next week. If approved it will be brought before the Senate.
The amendment prohibits anyone with a body mass index under a certain level from being paid as a model. The bar, which is set by height and weight measurements, would be set later by a decree if the law passes all the legislative hurdles.
Any modeling agency or person who hires a model below that index would be punished with a maximum six months jail term and a 75,000 euros ($80,000) fine if found guilty.
“The idea behind this law is not to send people to prison or fine them,” said Olivier Veran, a neurologist and legislator who promoted the anorexia amendment, adding that the law aims at protecting the health of people who are working in the modelling sector.
The measure’s supporters claim they are protecting the models from pressure to lose weight, which is sometimes required by some modelling agencies.
According to the Associated Press, one agency representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accepted the fact that some designers prefer thinner models,, but said that his agency did not hire anorexic models because they are suffering from a medical condition.
The World Health Organization considers a body mass index of less than 18.5 as being “underweight.” Adults with anorexia usually have a body mass index of less than 17.5. For example, a woman who is about 5 foot 7 and 112 pounds is “underweight”.
French lawmakers also approved a connected amendment earlier this week which targets those who manage pro-anorexia websites. Another amendment, which would require publications to write a note that informs readers when they have modified a picture to make a model look less anorexic or thinner was also approved in Paris.
Almost 40,000 people are believed to be anorexic in France. More than 90 percent of them are women, according to the French health ministry.
Image Source: Fashion Maniacs Online