They say French women don’t get fat, but it turns out they do get too thin.
France’s legislators are now trying to change that, with an historic bill aimed at curbing anorexia, which was approved by the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) on Friday.
If passed by the Senate, the bill would prohibit agencies from hiring dangerously thin models and require that Photoshopped photos of models be clearly labeled as retouched.
According to the New York Times, Spain and Israel already have some rules in place against the use of ultra-thin models, but France’s would set the bar higher.
The law would require that a doctor certify that a model is at an acceptable weight for her height using the body mass index scale, and employers who violate it would run the risk of paying upwards of $80,000 in fines and serving up to six months in prison.
The penalties are tough and seem like they could lead to real change in the industry, and the bill also sends a positive message to models and young girls. “A person should not be obliged to starve herself in order to work,” the bill’s champion Dr. Olivier Véran told The Times.
So if strong really is the new skinny (yes!), will government officials stateside soon follow suit and do more to stamp out disordered eating? —Jamie McKillop
For more information, visit www.nytimes.com