France Bans Size Zero Models

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Paris: For months, the French government has been moving to ban runway models who are unhealthily thin from the runway and ad campaigns, citing not just the toll on the models themselves but the influence they may have on young women. On 17th December, the legislation passed, and now all models will be required to provide medical proof of their health, including their Body Mass Index, reports WWD. The fine for agencies and fashion companies who do not comply with the law is 75,000 Euros (about $82,000).

But they didn’t stop there: all the photoshopping we assume is in adverts is about to be fully aired out.

The “retouching” part of the bill doesn’t go into full effect until January 2017 at the latest, presumably so it won’t unfairly affect future ad campaigns that have yet to launch but have already been shot and paid for, but it’s a positive development nonetheless. The more controversial parts of the bill which had previously aimed to crack down on “pro-ana” sites, though, were removed before it passed.

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That said, it’s debatable whether the BMI requirement will effect any positive change, as fashion lawyer and professor Ali Grace Marquart told Jezebel in April. “I don’t think you can say that someone won’t have an eating disorder just because they don’t have a BMI below 18,” she said, “and actually enforcing something like that on a daily basis can be extremely difficult, especially given the transient nature of the modeling industry.”

Further complicating that idea is the fact that there’s no standardized measure by which the models are deemed healthy, leaving it up to the doctors to decide, reports the Guardian. Hypothetically, that leaves the door open for shady doctors to write approving medical notes for not-healthy models the way others are “overly generous” with writing prescriptions. And the Guardian notes that in France, estimates put the number of people suffering from anorexia at around 40,000.