We watch models walk down the catwalk and we see the clothes hang from them as they do on our hangers in our closets. Loose fitting. Skeletal looking. Open a fashion magazine and the women (and men) photographed to fill the glossy pages are hollow-cheeked with bodies one would expect of a child.
We have become used to seeing underweight women grace the pages of our fashion magazines and fashion runways. Designers expect rail-thin models to showcase their creations. Young girls and women starve themselves to become like the malnourished bodies of the women they aspire to imitate.
A country aims to try to stop extreme dieting; the increase of eating disorders in their homeland; and the desire of the young to look like the emancipated women that they admire. Israel has now created a law that prohibits the employment of underweight models for local advertising and magazine publications. Models will therefore have to eat more; and employers will no longer have the right to expect their models to be just skin and bones. In addition, the new law will require local publications to disclose when they alter images to make the men and women in the photograph appear thinner: alterations which make already thin people look unrealistically thinner.
One may wonder how this new law will be enforced. Models will have to produce a medical report, no older than 3 months, that shows that they are not malnourished and underweight. The standards used will be those used by the World Health Organisation to determine who is malnourished: the body mass index,in which weight is divided by height, should not be below 18.5.
Hopefully this new legislation will encourage youngsters to emulate the healthier body weight Israel hopes to see grace its fashion pages. In passing this law, the Israeli government is hoping that it will help stem the tide of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia that is so prevalent among young women in their society.
What is your opinion of Israel’s new model legislation?