Another fashion week, another designer is criticised for
using alarmingly underweight models. This time Victoria Beckham has
copped it for sending 'skeletal, hungry - looking' models
down the runway at her New York Fashion Week show.
Let's assume we all agree that models who grace our magazine
pages and stare down at us from billboards should represent normal
people (or at least more normal ), and provide healthy
role models for our impressionable youth. How do we make sure that
happens? Assuming we aren't able to change society's
perception of beauty any time soon, should governments force us to
do the right thing?
Well, the French Parliament has had a go. It has just brought in
new laws making it a criminal offence (yes, criminal) to employ
excessively thin models. If you use a model with a Body Mass Index
(BMI) of less than 18, you face a fine of 75,000 euros or 6 months
in jail. Sacré bleu! Also, re - touch a photo to change a
model's shape and don't declare it, and you're up for
37,500 euros .
Israel passed similar laws a few years ago, while in Italy and
Spain the fashion industry self - regulates and requires a
doctor's certification that models are healthy before they can
work. The British Fashion Council (which runs London Fashion Week)
will not allow models under the age of 16, and designers must
ensure that food is available backstage. The Council of Fashion
Designers of America has a health initiative which sets out non -
mandatory guidelines, and recommends not employing models aged
What about here in Oz? There's nothing formal in place at
the moment, but as Paris obviously sets the pace fashion - wise, we
won't be surprised if the Australian government takes action
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