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Hey, Its a Start: Underweight Models Banned from Runways in Israel

Fashion model

It seems like maybe the beauty ideal is slowly starting to change

Over the last few months there has been increasing chatter about the size of fashion models. Plus Model Magazine featured a pictorial with a nude, full-figured model next to a nude, pin-thin model and asked, “What’s wrong with plus-size?” A plus-size model appeared this winter on the cover of French ELLE and was declared “The Body.” A former plus-size model appeared in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority even banned a stick-thin model from appearing in unfortunately named clothing company Drop Dead’s ads.

At the same time, however, the Gap was criticized not long ago for displaying mannequins with legs thinner than toothpicks. And H&M seems to say on their website that even gorgeous, thin models aren’t perfect enough.

But it seems as if the recent moves to promote healthier images might actually outweigh the anorexic-looking models. That includes a new law passed by the Israeli government that requires models to provide medical proof of their weight, according to the Washington Post.

The law also says Israeli models must have a BMI of at least 18.5. And if advertisements edit or Photoshop an image to make a model appear thinner? The ad must contain a warning.

There are, of course, some critics of the new law who argue the focus should be on health, not weight.

“I know many models who are totally healthy girls who might be disqualified because of the law,” Eli Edri of the Roberto Models Agency told Haaretz, the Washington Post reports. “Such a law would disqualify them without determining whether they are really sick or not.”

But the BBC says 2 percent of Israeli girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have “severe eating disorders.” Which is why most probably agree that a law cracking down on unhealthy-looking body images that only few will ever attain is a good thing.

And it’s hard to imagine any parent of a young girl would argue that fewer images of unrealistically skinny models is a bad thing. While it’s not up to just the fashion industry to ensure young girls and women have good self-esteem, if they do their part, it can only help everyone else in turn.

Do you think the law in Israel is a good start, or will some things never change?

Photo credit: iStock

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