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Israel Bans Underweight Models To Curb Anorexia

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A new law passed in Israel states that male and female models must have a body mass index of at least 18.5, which is the border between healthy weight and underweight. A doctor must confirm that the model is not underweight before he or she is allowed to appear on the runway or in photographs.

This small step for the fashion industry is being called a “giant leap for women everywhere.” Fashion models are typically at 18.5 BMI or lower, which is medically underweight, so this new law will require designers to hire only healthy models. It also bans male or female models that look too thin, and it prevents photo manipulation to make a model look thinner.

Israel is re-modeling the idea of what is beautiful

By outlawing women and men who are visibly unhealthy, the lawmakers hope to discourage young girls from developing anorexia. Rachel Adato, one of the lawyers in the case, said,

“We believe that, by this bill, there will be a new way to protect the kids and a new way to look at what is beautiful. Beautiful is not underweight. Beautiful shouldn’t be anorexia. Anorexia is a very, very dangerous disease and that’s the reason, that’s the justification why we need this legislation.”

For years, the fashion industry has been defining perfection as skinny, perpetuating the belief that some young girls have that skinny is necessary to be beautiful. Fashion models are under a huge amount of pressure to stay thin, which results in unhealthy behavior.

Very few underweight fashion models have healthy eating habits, and they experience many negative consequences later in life.

Israel has taken a brave first step into what many countries are leaning toward: stricter regulations on the fashion industry’s weight requirement. After two Latin American models died of anorexia in 2006, India and Italy also banned underweight models from the catwalk. These countries are hoping that others follow their lead to re-shape the fashion industry into a healthier form.