When you hear the word “model”, most people think of extremely thin, exotic looking girls walking the runway, gracing the pages of magazines, and promoting clothing for top brands on Instagram. However, seeing thin models hasn’t become a “fad” until, some would say, in the 80s when girls wanted to be thin and not considered “mom-ish”. Other would argue the 90s pushed the thin trend into full force with the popularity of Barbie. Regardless of when the trend took off, the knowledge of how dangerous being underweight has spread, and has started many campaigns to promote “being/loving yourself”.
France, on the other hand, is taking a stand against agencies not acknowledging their underweight models. According to WWD, the French government might pass a law that will punish agents and designers who hire models that are underweight. Under this potential law, agencies and designers will require regular weigh-ins for their working models, both male and female. If they do not pass the test, the company will be fined up to 75,000 euros ($79,000), or possible jail time.
In order to stop fraudulent weigh-ins, the legislature suggested the model must present a medical certificate that will prove her BMI is at the very least 18 for a woman of 5’8”. This means she must be around 119 pounds. Anything lower than an 18.5 on the BMI charts is considered underweight by most medical standards worldwide.
Millions of women and young girls look up to these models, and having unrealistic and unhealthy bodies can cause harm to both the models and the fans. The same goes for thin male models; their unhealthy weights may influence young boys to achieve the same harmful standard. It’s important for the models to take care of themselves and eat healthy without the fear of losing their jobs.
France isn’t the only country taking a stand against too-thin models. Italy, Spain, and Israel have all taken legal measures to keep their models at a healthy weight. The proposed measures may seem a bit harsh at first glance, but they need to be strict to see immediate change in an industry that has idolized too-thin models for decades.
What do you think of this new proposed law? Do you think the United States will follow suit?