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California follows France and proposes new skinny model law

New rules would ensure women modelling in California would be deemed as healthy by a doctor before working

California is leading by example and mimicking France’s newly passed ‘skinny model law’, which came into effect in December 2015 and hopes to combat the number of eating disorders and unhealthy women prevalent in the fashion and modelling industries.

If the proposed law is passed, modelling agencies would have to operate under license from the California Labour Commissioner, with agencies who are found to be hiring models not fit for work or not classified as healthy by a certified doctor liable to be fined.

The proposed legislation would also mean California’s Department of Public Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Standards board would have to outline rules as to what health checks would include. Speaking of the proposed law, Nikki Dubose, a former model turned advocate said in a statement, “as a former fashion model and an eating disorder survivor, I know that this legislation is critically needed.”

The news comes amidst a time in which the fashion industry grapples with change in all areas, with black model Leomie Anderson recently speaking out about the ill-prepared, make up artists at shows who often can’t cater to her skin tone. The past year has also seen names such as Dazed 100 star Hari Nef, Jillian Mercado and movements such as #droptheplus gain worldwide attention, as a new generation of industry names push for more inclusivity on the runway and in the wider fashion landscape.

While implementing health guidelines that ensure young women’s well-being is no bad thing, questions arose during the discussion surrounding France’s law as to how strictly the new legislation would be enforced. With models allowed to work outside of the guidelines if they are deemed "appropriate for the job", and stricter implementations such as forcing to models to eat on set bordering the narrow line between genuine care and the policing of the female body, it seems the industry has no easy fix as to how to tackle fashion’s issues surrounding body image.  

h/t The Fashion Law