France has just passed a new law that requires all models to provide a doctor’s note declaring that they are of a healthy weight in order to work. If working models fail to provide an approved certificate from their doctor they can be put in jail for up to 6 months and fined about £54,500.
The new law also requires every image that has been photoshopped or altered in magazines to specifically state that on the page.
This new legislation was passed in order to help combat the growing problem of anorexic models and the rising number of young people with eating disorders.
The doctor’s certificate must confirm: “The state of health of the model, assessed with regard to her body mass index is compatible with the exercise of her profession.” However, French MPs rejected a clause that was put forth in a previous draft of the bill that would have imposed a minimum BMI, measured according to height and weight, on those working in the fashion and advertising industry. They instead agreed to let the doctors make the call on whether the model is too thin; criteria for this includes age, gender, and body shape.
What Will This Accomplish?
This is a wonderful initiative being put forth, as young people and adolescents look up to these women as role models and aim to be just like them. Presenting dangerously underweight women as the ideal sets up unrealistic standards of “beauty” and encourages young people to feel ashamed of their bodies. In France alone, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people, mostly adolescents, suffer from anorexia.
Hopefully, the rest of the world, particularly the United States, will adopt a similar law to help prevent young people from developing eating and body dismorphic disorders. Luckily, however, many campaigns in the U.S. have been working to show that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. It would be amazing if all photoshopped images were required to be labeled or, better still, we could ban this kind of altering altogether. These images are extremely unrealistic, portraying an idea of perfection that does not exist, and making it seem as though it is necessary (and even physically possible) to have zero ‘flaws.’ Any marks which demonstrate that a woman has lived a life in this world, or that show she is a real human being — stretch marks, cellulite, uneven skin, large pores — are erased, and body parts are manipulated — breasts made larger, hips made smaller, etc. — in an effort to make these features even more desirable.
This Video Provides A Perfect Example
As a society, I believe we are starting to learn the truth about beauty and are slowly but surely beginning to love ourselves the way we are. Plastic surgery was a fad for awhile, but I truly believe that over the next few years people will begin to appreciate themselves for who they are. Hopefully this new law will encourage other countries to set similar laws which in turn will bring back more natural, realistic ideas of beauty into our society’s consciousness. After all, we are all beautiful in our own way!
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