France Fights Eating Disorders, Unrealistic Beauty Ideals By Banning Extremely Thin Models

A new law in France requires all models to attain a doctor’s certificate of health.

The doctor’s assessment measures a model’s overall health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI), a weight-by-height measurement of health. According to the country’s health ministry, the new law aims to challenge eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty.

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There is no minimum requirement for a model’s BMI, as suggested in a previous form of the bill. A model’s bill of health is to solely be decided by the doctor conducing the assessment.

Another component to the law requires digitally altered photos to be labelled as such, starting October 1, 2017. Photoshopped images of models will have to be labelled “photographie retouchee” (English: “retouched photograph”).

Employers breaking the law could face fines of up to 75,000 euros ($113,000 CAD) and up to six months in jail.

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“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour,” said France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, in a statement on Friday, according to French media.

This isn’t the first time a country has passed a law regarding underweight models. Italy, Spain and Israel have all legislated on the issue.

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