And it came to Pass: A Law officially banning Skinny Models in ads and catwalks

Very Skinny Modeling banned in Isreal

 It is no gain saying to give it to the Jews who although may seem like a minority in number, have always undoubtedly been a force to reckon with worldwide from biblical accounts centuries ago to the present day as they are often pioneering breakthroughs and leading in key industries.

For the first time ever, it could only have taken the guts of an Isreali government to finally pass a law that officially bans the use of skinny models in advertisement.

Talks about the link between skinny models and eating disorders (Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia) are probably almost as old as the fashion industry itself yet that is about all it ever really is, just talks; often times prompted by a media buzz that follows the death of one or two models but really just dissipates as fast as it starts, just like an occasional punctuation in the wave of the usual flow within the fashion industry- where thinness is still depicted as the ideal ‘it’ body.

Very Skinny Modeling banned in Isreal- BMI

Previous studies had shown that between 60% and 80% of Israeli female adolescents are dissatisfied with their weight and figure, though the vast majority of those surveyed were of normal or even low weight. Also severe eating disorder affects about 2% of all girls between 14 and 18 years, which is a similar statistics across other developed countries too.

Actually, the law is specifically directed to ‘all male and female models’ but the ladies are usually the culprits in eating disorders. But here is the true picture: the high profile glitz and glamour fab lifestyle excellently portrayed by the media to depict the fashion world has and will always make the majority of ladies and young girls to ever crave for that idealized picture perfect flawlessly shaped thin body that most of the perfect cloths are made for- no matter how unreal it may seem, not to mention the surmounting pressure for those who earn their living as models and indeed need to ‘stay on demand’ to be of relevance.

ANOREXIA NERVOSA: describes a psychological undue fear of weight gain with a constant preoccupation to stay thin that distorts normal eating habits. Clinical criteria for a medical diagnosis are:

–          Body Mass Index, BMI of 17.5 or less

–          Weight loss is self-induced by such means as Vomiting, Use of laxative (purging), Appetite Suppressants, and avoidance of fattening food

–          Morbid fear of fatness

–          A distortion of body image where she perceives herself as fat whereas she is thin

–          Menstrual irregularities or Amenorrhea.

Here are more details of the law; The Isreali legislature, Knesset:

– bans the display of underweight models in Isreali advertising,

– prohibits ads from abroad if they feature models deemed underweight,

– requires advertisers to note when images have been visually manipulated to make models appear thinner.

Beyond restricting advertisers ‘photoshop-ing’, the law also set a new criterion for hiring anybody for a modeling job- wherein the model must not be underweight, defined by the WHO International medical standard of BMI ≤ 18.5 or that they show a note from a doctor saying they are not underweight.

BODY MASS INDEX, BMI: is a calculated number based on a person’s weight and height and serves as a reliable screening tool used to access the health risk of a person’s weight. BMI is simply calculated as Weight in kg/ (Height in m)2 and the result is interpreted based on a scale for adults.

BMI

Weight Status

Below 18.5

Underweight

18.5 – 24.9

Normal

25.0 – 29.9

Overweight

30.0 and Above

Obese

In children and teens, weight and height indices must be interpreted in with respect to their Age and Sex.

No doubt there will be other sides to the matter like how about female models that have always been naturally thin? In the end, the overall aim of this new law is to possibly “re-brand” the perception of what an ideal body image should look like, even if the law does not succeed in creating a mental shift today, it should at least save hopefully the next generation of upcoming teen. It is worthy of mention that so far, this conversation has purely bordered on specific weight-related diseases: Anorexia Nervosa, with no mention of others like ‘Low Self-esteem’ issues that may not be physically quantifiable.

Do you think that simply enacting a law will be the final solution?

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