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You can turn your head and ignore it all you want, but there’s no denying that fashion has a dark side.
For decades, the industry has consistently faced criticism for promoting an unhealthy self-image among consumers, especially women. From the Photoshopping to the makeup to the unattainable weight of the models, there are many factors that have contributed to negative self-esteem among those who want nothing more than to look like the women they see in fashion. But, thankfully, some countries are taking a stance against these idealized images of beauty by banning models who are excessively thin.
This week, France announced its plans to follow in the footsteps of Italy, Spain, and Israel by outlawing the use of anorexic models in ad campaigns. Socialist politician Olivier Veran has proposed two amendments to a health bill that would punish anyone who employs models with eating disorders. The law would require regular weight checks and fines up to $79,000 for any violations. Additionally, the staff who was involved in the hiring of an underweight model could face up to six months in jail.
Not only is Veran going after fashion insiders, he also wants to shut down websites that promote anorexia—sites that give young girls tips for starving themselves in an attempt to look like the models they see on the catwalk. Creators of these pages could get up to one year in prison and pay up to $10,575 in fines. It’s a pretty serious crack down on a very serious problem.
Critics of these proposals claim a Body Mass Index is not an indicator of good health, and that it is unfair to ban naturally skinny models from working. However, you have to realize that the majority of women have to resort to dangerous measures to resemble some of these so-called “naturally skinny” models, and the country has an obligation to keep its people emotionally and physically healthy in any way they can.
According to Metro, Veran said that up to 40,000 people in France are suffering from anorexia, and 90 percent of those people are adolescents. This is a scary statistic that can be linked to France’s reputation as a fashion hub. But despite it being one of the most lucrative industries for the country, fashion has also caused some harm to its youth population—whether you consider it directly or indirectly.
Fashion isn’t what it used to be. It’s no longer this inaccessible realm reserved for those with unrealistic beauty. Our mindsets have changed, and society is slowly beginning to embrace and celebrate natural bodies; and this is just one step closer to eradicating eating disorders among women who risk their lives to try to look like these models. Retailers like H&M have expressed regret for using unnaturally thin models in their campaigns, while stores like Urban Outfitters have had their ads banned for featuring underweight models.
Clearly, we're moving in the right direction. Here's hoping these amendments pass, and more people begin to realize just how hot curvy, healthy women actually are.
[via Business of Fashion]