Update, 4/7: More details on the French law prohibiting underweight models have emerged.
According to People, the bill France's lower house of parliament passed Friday would implement serious punishments for agencies and fashion houses that hired models with BMIs of less than 18 and websites that promote anorexia. The former could lead to imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of about $82,000, while the latter results in even more severe consequences: up to a year in jail and a 100,000-euro fine.
But what's most interesting about the bill is that it requires mandatory messaging on any advertisement that has been Photoshopped to make the model look thinner. Will that dramatically change what we see on billboards and in magazines? The bill goes up for another vote April 14, so...we'll see.
Update, 4/3: Under a French law passed Friday morning, agencies or fashion houses that hire models with a Body Mass Index under 18 can face up to six months in prison and a $86,100 fine, reports the Verge.
The original bill proposed in March was rejected on the grounds that it would violate anti-discrimination law, but an amended version will go on to the Senate for a vote, as will a related law, passed Thursday evening, that makes it a crime to encourage anorexia.
France follows Spain, Israel, and India in passing legislation banning underweight models. *looks pointedly at Capitol Hill*
Original post, 3/19: Major waves are coming to French fashion—but it was nothing to do with the clothes. According to Reuters, France's government will most likely pass legislation today banning "excessively skinny" models from booking jobs and fining the modeling agencies who hire them. The proposal also seeks to ban websites that promote eating disorders.
"This is an important message to young women, young women who see these models as an aesthetic ideal," French Health Minister Marisol Touraine told BFM TV. She believes the bill will pass.
France has been at the center of high-profile anorexia cases in the past. In 2010, French model Isabelle Caro died of anorexia after returning to France from a job in Japan. Caro, who had suffered from the disease since the age of 13, famously starred in an anorexia awareness ad in 2007 where she modeled her shockingly-thin naked body under the words "No Anorexia."
Women's Wear Daily reports that the new law would require models who are 5 feet 7 inches and 120 pounds to present proof of a BMI of 18 both before and after they are hired for jobs. If they can't, they won't work.
Additionally, "the law would enforce regular weight checks and fines of up to 75,000 euros (more than $110,000) for any breaches, with up to six months in jail for staff involved," French lawmaker Olivier Veran told Le Parisien.
Veran also notes that the proposal is a measure to combat "some 30-40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, most of them teenagers." Spain, Israel, and India already have legislation banning models with a BMI lower than 18.5. We for one are 100 percent behind this bill.
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