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Still from ‘Girl Model’
Still from ‘Girl Model’via

France passes landmark skinny model bill

Deputies in France’s National Assembly also pass legislation on digitally altering model’s silhouettes

Yesterday the French Government passed a new bill to protect “ultraskinny” models. Soon, models working in France will be required to show a medical certificate proving that their health is “compatible with the practice of the profession”. Doctors will be able to decide whether or not a model is fit for work based on their weight, age, and body shape.

An infringement of this law will have some fairly serious repercussions – employers (be they modelling agencies or fashion house) could face a prison term of of up to six months in jail and a fine starting at €75,000 (£54,000). 

The bill, which was drafted yesterday, also says that images that have been digitally altered to make the model’s silhouette “narrower or wider” must be labelled “retouched photograph”. A violation of this, will incur a fine starting at €37,500 (£27,000).

With 30,000 to 40,000 people in France suffering from anorexia, and medical professionals citing skinny models as a contributing factor to people developing the eating disorder, this law is a long-overdue intervention into the problem.

But France isn’t the first country to pass legislation like this; Italy, Spain and Israel are all countries have all done so, banning models with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18 from working. And Britain? Earlier this month members of parliament met with industry members and health experts to discuss the issue. Conservative MP Caroline Nokes who chaired the inquiry is now in the process of compiling a report on whether to press for legislation, which will be published next year.