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France's Move to Ban Underweight Models

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A bill that was recently filed in France could mean stricter laws for the country's fashion industry.

The bill would make it illegal for fashion companies to hire underweight models and would require models to have regular weigh-ins. It would also criminalize websites that portray the glorification of anorexia or other eating disorders.

"These sites explain to girls aged 12-13 that we must have a gap of 15cm between the legs to be beautiful," said Olivier Veran, health minister and author of the bill's amendments.

'Extreme thinness'

While exact specifications about weight requirements for models have not yet been defined, the idea of "extreme thinness" would include a holistic look at factors like body mass index and height to determine an appropriate weight.

"In France, one considers that it is thin below 18.5 [BMI]. For the World Health Organization, an index below 18 means we start talking of malnutrition. Below 17, it is a severe malnutrition. Below 16 is considered a state of famine," Veran said.

In 2013, France made a similar move toward promoting healthier body image ideals by banning the practice of child beauty pageants.

According to Veran, fashion plays a large role in making women believe they have to be thin to be beautiful.

"It is intolerable that we can make the apology of malnutrition and that we can commercially exploit people who are in situations that endanger their health," he said.

Source: International Business Times
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