the skinny on france's new anti-thinspiration laws
A new law passed today aims to regulate the modeling industry and crack down on eating disorders.
"The activity of model is banned for any person whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than levels proposed by health authorities and decreed by the ministers of health and labor," reads a new law passed in France today.
The bill is part of President Francois Hollande's campaign to target anorexia in France, and requires models to provide a medical certificate proving that they have a BMI of at least 18 before they can be hired for a job. Any modeling agency or other employer that disregards the new law will now face a potential prison of up to six months, and a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,000).
A second measure, also passed today, aims to clamp down on "pro-ana" websites. The bill introduced strict penalties for any site that encourages viewers to "seek excessive thinness by encouraging eating restrictions for a prolonged period of time, resulting in risk of mortality or damage to health."
While the bill's goal is to protect models and to restrict the potentially harmful effects of images showing ultra-thin models, the French National Union of Modelling Agencies has criticized the measure for "lumping together anorexia and thinness." "It's important that the models are healthy," said union head Isabelle Saint-Felix, "but it's a little simplistic to think there won't be any more anorexics if we get rid of very thin models."