The French government is likely to pass a new law punishing any agents or designers who hire models that do not meet the newly implemented weight requirement. Every model must submit a medical certificate showing her BMI is at least an 18. A BMI below an 18.5 is considered underweight by medical standards. Any agent or designer who hires a model that doesn’t meet this weight requirement will receive a hefty fine and possible jail time.
The law possibly being implemented is not only for the models themselves, but also for the young female viewers looking up to these ultra-thin models and adopting these types of beauty standards, unobtainable by most people. France will join Israel, Spain, and Italy as the latest country to take a stand against ultra-thin models on the runway.
Why does this not sit exactly right with me? From a global perspective, I understand there are far too many tragic occurrences with young women and girls out there hurting themselves in attempting to achieve the model standard of weight and “beauty.” I also suppose I can appreciate the fact France, as well as other countries already implementing this law, are trying to make societal changes in order to re-define certain standards of beauty in order to protect young girls.
However, I must confess, the fact the government is now mandating what size a woman’s body is considered legally acceptable for public display makes me uncomfortable. A woman can never be too large, but now she cannot be too thin either. I also do not believe their choice of measurement, the BMI, is an acceptable way to measure one’s health. This considering the Body Mass Indicator is a measurement of body fat in relation to weight and height, so essentially just size. It is not necessarily an indicator of health.
I do think the fashion industry, across the globe, should be more focused on the diversity of its models, rather than the condemning of one particular size. If the industry showed more sizes, shapes, and colors on the runway then more types of aesthetic beauty ideals would be accepted. Fashion models could become more relatable to a larger number of young girls and viewers in general. I believe this would be a the greater step in the fight against unobtainable ideals of beauty.
What are your thoughts on the new law for models and designers?
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