Recently, in Israel, a new law has been passed that bans models with a BMI of 18.5 or less from appearing in print ads. The new legislation, entitled the “Photoshop Law,” also requires ads to disclose whether or not they’ve photoshopped the subjects.
This has been a longstanding effort by lobbyists concerned about the health of young women across the world. The fashion industry is one where it seems models continue to shrink every year and Israel has decided enough is enough. The new law wouldn’t impose any criminal sanctions but would allow say, the family of a young girl suffering or having died from anorexia, to pursue legal action against an advertiser in a civil suit. (With a heavy burden of proof, I’m sure)
For now, it seems it will hold fashion companies responsible for displaying the standard for beauty so many women are influenced by, old and young alike. The new law is meant to deter the display of an unhealthy body image as “the gold standard of beauty”, and I can’t say it’s a terrible idea. But I don’t think it’s being met with much enthusiasm by fashion designers or modeling agencies.
Some claim the BMI index isn’t a perfect fit for every body, and that certain models are naturally skinny and incapable of gaining weight, thus the new law would discriminate against them and prevent them from finding work.
And others, like Donatella Versace, just plain do not want “real women” modeling their designs. The designer rejected a photo shoot proposed by New York Daily News that wanted to do a pictorial featuring real women of New York (around size 6) modeling her Versace for H&M line. Apparently, the high-end designer rejected all but one of the proposed models, saying they just didn’t “fit Versace’s branding.” Hey, it’s your line, Donatella.
Do you think it’s the legislature’s job to moderate on this issue? Leave your thoughts below…