France makes moves to ban ul­tra-thin mod­els

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANNE PAS­CALE RE­BOUL AND ANNE-LAURE MON­DESERT

French law­mak­ers on Fri­day voted to ban ul­tra-thin mod­els, de­spite howls of protest from mod­el­ling agen­cies in the world’s fash­ion cap­i­tal.

The Na­tional As­sem­bly lower house of par­lia­ment also backed a law mak­ing a “re­touched photo” tag com­pul­sory when peo­ple’s bod­ies in com­mer­cial images are Pho­to­shopped.

The aim, the So­cial­ist deputies spon­sor­ing the mea­sures said, is to bring body ideals hawked to the public back to a healthy re­al­ity.

“Any­one whose body mass in­dex... is be­low a cer­tain level will not be able to work as a model,” ac­cord­ing to the amend­ment of a bill voted by the law­mak­ers.

Those found em­ploy­ing mod­els con­sid­ered too thin could be li­able for a fine of up to 75,000 eu­ros (US$85,000) and six months in pri­son.

But France’s Na­tional Union of Mod­el­ling Agen­cies, or SYNAM, slammed the move for “lump­ing to­gether anorexia and thin­ness.”

It noted that some mod­els were nat­u­rally very slim and could ar­gue they were be­ing dis­crimi-

nated against by the mea­sure.

For­eign Mod­els Dom­i­nate

France

“When you look at the cri­te­ria be­hind anorexia, you can’t look only at the body mass in­dex when other cri­te­ria are also in­volved: psy­cho­log­i­cal, a his­tory of hair loss, den­tal prob­lems,” the head of SYNAM, Is­abelle Sain­tFelix, com­plained to AFP. “It’s im­por­tant that the mod­els are healthy,” she said, “but it’s a lit­tle sim­plis­tic to think there won’t be any more anorex­ics if we get rid of very thin mod­els.”

Overnight Wed­nes­day,

the Na­tional As­sem­bly also voted to make it a crime to en­cour­age ex­ces­sive thin­ness, a mea­sure aimed at “pro-ana” web­sites that are seen ex­tolling and pro­mot­ing anorexia or bu­limia. If made law, those found guilty could face a year in pri­son and a fine of up to 10,000 eu­ros.

In France, an es­ti­mated 30,000 to 40,000 peo­ple — al­most all of them ado­les­cents — suf­fer from anorexia ner­vosa, which car­ries a high mor­tal risk.

Health Min­is­ter Marisol Touraine had pre­vi­ously said that young mod­els should “eat well and look af­ter their health.”

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