Target: The French National Assembly
Goal: Applaud France’s ban on anorexia-glorifying media and for protecting vulnerable persons worldwide from potentially harmful images.
Excessively thin fashion models, anorexia-glorifying websites, and photoshopped images that make models look thinner without disclaimers stating that the photos were manipulated were recently banned in France. Applaud France’s progressive move to protect vulnerable people from unrealistic ideals.
The standard for “excessively thin” is a Body Mass Index (BMI) lower than levels decreed by France’s Ministers of Health and Labor. If convicted of breaking this law, modeling agencies or the fashion house that hires them would face up to six months of prison time and a fine of 75,000 euros ($80,000).
This ban also cracks down on so-called “pro-ana” websites and forums, meaning they actively condone, promote, and demonstrate how to attain an extremely low body weight by being anorexic. The law distinguishes between websites that detail how to be the perfect anorexic by drinking tea and ingesting cotton balls so they can swell in a person’s stomach to reduce your appetite and websites that are supportive forums for those struggling with or recovering from anorexia. Lawbreakers can face up to a year in prison and fines up to 100,000 euros for this violation.
France is not the first country to pass a similar law. In 2013 Israel passed a similar law, while Spain and Italy rely on voluntary codes of conducts when it comes to protecting models. Those countries have bustling fashion scenes of their own; however, France is home to Paris, indisputably one of the top fashion capitals in the world. French lawmakers do not expect to hand out jail time and fines. They hope the law will act as a deterrent that prevents industries from risking the health of the models and those who look up to them for the sake of profiting off of a potentially deadly beauty standard. The law is only effective in France, but given Paris’ position in the modeling and fashion worlds this ban can have a widespread symbolic impact in media worldwide.
According to France’s health ministry, the country has 30,000-40,000 anorexia sufferers. Most are teenagers. Some die from this disorder and many more will continue to fight a life-long battle with their image, never able to relate to food the way they did before this disorder. Let’s applaud the French National Assembly for passing a law that bans the glorification of anorexia in France’s media and distinguishes between helpful websites and potentially deadly ones.
Dear Members of The French National Assembly,
I would like to applaud your recent passing of a bill that takes a stand against promoting eating disorders in media. I understand you have banned excessively thin fashion models, anorexia-glorifying websites, and photoshopped images that make models look thinner without disclaimers stating that the photos were manipulated.
I hope this law will act as a deterrent that prevents modeling agencies and fashion houses from hiring underweight models, although I appreciate that you have also included jail time and significant fines for breaking this law. This way lawbreakers can understand the government considers their activity criminal and there will be consequences for putting models at risk by promoting a potentially deadly beauty standard.
Thank you for distinguishing between websites and forums that provide an online space for those struggling with or recovering from anorexia and “pro-ana” websites that condone this dangerous eating disorder. Since Paris is a fashion capital I expect this law to have positive and symbolic results well outside of France so please enforce it.
France has 30,000-40,000 anorexia sufferers according to your health ministry, with most of them being teenagers. Thank you for protecting this vulnerable population and potentially sparing their loved ones and well wishers from experiencing the disastrous effects of this disorder.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Benjamin Watson via Flickr