Too Skinny is Out-Lawed
Israel's new law banning skinny models has again brought up an uncomfortable topic to the table for the fashion industry, which has long been criticized for seeming to promote unnatural thinness as beauty standard. And once again, countries are divided as to how to deal with the issue of too-skinny models, by law or with other means.
Israel's law, which went into effect Tuesday, bans models with a body-mass index—a calculation based on height and weight—of less than 18.5 from appearing in advertisements. According to that BMI standard, a female model who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall can weigh no less than 119 pounds.
The law also requires publications to disclose when they use altered images of models to make the women and men appear even thinner than they really are.
The skinny model issue has been a hot button for consumers since model Kate Moss helped bring in the "heroin chic" look in the early 1990s. Criticism has centered on the health of models as well as on the unhealthy images being promoted to young girls in magazines and fashion advertisements. After a number of models died of anorexia in recent years, public outcry led authorities in a number of countries—including Spain and Italy—to attempt to regulate models' weight. The Madrid Fashion Show bans women whose BMI is below 18. Milan's Fashion Week bans models with a BMI below 18.5.
The U.S. fashion's industry main representative, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has chosen to emphasize ...