Ban on skinny mod­els is a pos­i­tive move

Fingal Independent - - OPINION - With Deb­o­rah Cole­man

IT has been an ex­cit­ing week for France with the elec­tions alone but it also made head­lines for the in­tro­duc­tion of a ban on cat­walk mod­els that are deemed to be too thin. It seems that mod­els will have to pro­duce a doc­tor’s cer­tifi­cate to show they have a healthy body mass in­dex.

The coun­try is also set to in­tro­duce a new law mak­ing it manda­tory to in­di­cate if Pho­to­shop has been used on any im­age.

I think that while some peo­ple might find this ex­ces­sive, th­ese are both well thought out changes and will cer­tainly help with pro­mot­ing health­ier body im­age, and with let­ting peo­ple know whether what they are look­ing at is real or not.

How­ever, it would need to be rolled out in­ter­na­tion­ally in or­der to have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on young peo­ple to­day.

Re­fer­ring to ‘Pho­to­shop’ is pretty vague as this is sim­ply an edit­ing tool for photographs but I think that the mes­sage re­ally re­lates to the un­re­al­is­tic edit­ing and en­hance­ment of model and life­style shots. The vast ma­jor­ity of what we see is noth­ing but fake and unattain­able.

Of course a young, slim and fit woman with flaw­less skin and long flow­ing hair is go­ing to sell so-called ‘ health prod­ucts’ be­cause there are peo­ple out there who truly be­lieve that all they have to do is take sup­ple­ments, drink some sort of tea and live on green smooth­ies to look this way. The model her­self doesn’t even look this way without the im­age be­ing en­hanced so how does any reg­u­lar per­son ex­pect to achieve this?

There is noth­ing but neg­a­tive back­lash when any fa­mous per­son dares to put on a bikini and re­veal the hor­ror that is cel­lulite, or if a new mother has any sort of a bump af­ter she gives birth then she is crit­i­cised for not snap­ping back into shape. When did we be­come a so­ci­ety that thinks that this is all that is im­por­tant, that tak­ing the per­fect selfie and as­pir­ing to th­ese un­re­al­is­tic stan­dards will bring hap­pi­ness?

So­cial me­dia has so much to an­swer for. It has gone from be­ing a harm­less bit of fun to a dan­ger­ous stick with which to beat those with low self es­teem.

The rea­son France wants to la­bel Pho­to­shopped photos is be­cause while it is plainly ob­vi­ous to many, that what they see is just an il­lu­sion, to many oth­ers this is a re­al­ity to which they com­pare them­selves. It’s a pos­i­tive first step, but much more is still needed.

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