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After two anorexic Latin American models died in 2006, countries such as Italy, Spain and India began banning underweight models from the fashioncatwalks. Now Israeli lawmakers have banned underweight models from runway shows and commercials, to hopefully reduce eating disorders and promote a healthy body image in their country.
A new law passed this weeks requires that male and female models in Israel must have a body mass index (or BMI, a measure of weight proportionate to height) of no less than 18.5 — a standard used by the World Health Organization — or a note from a doctor saying they are not underweight before they can be hired for a modeling job.
For instance, a 6-foot-tall model must weigh no less than 136.5 pounds. The legislation also bans use of models who “look underweight,” and will force creators of ads must disclose whether they used Photoshop or graphic programs to manipulate images to make the models look skinnier.
This movement has been gaining ground in the U.S. as well. While there is no federal or state law in place, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has set guidelines for American designers to follow regarding a body mass index for models.
Prior to the New York Fashion Week, which began Feb. 9, CFDA president — and a pioneer in the fight against skinny images and underage models — Diane Von Furstenberg emailed out this season’s guidelines for weight and age, which has been the organization’s standard practice for the past five years.
Von Furstenberg suggests in her e-mail that regulations will be stricter than in seasons’ past, such as in her own fall 2011 show when, unbeknownst to her, a 15-year-old model Hailey Clauson was hired and walked a runway.
She wrote: “The guidelines recommend that models be asked for iID to ensure that they are at least 16 years old on the day of a show and that you avoid having models under the age of eighteen to work past midnight at fittings. On behalf of The Model Alliance we also encourage you to consider model privacy and to have the photographers cleared for first looks.”
Tell us: What do you think about these new regulations? Will they have an impact on eating disorders and body image disorders among young women?
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