The standard of beauty should not be unhealthy.

French authorities hope that the move will help fight unrealistic, unhealthy body standards. Image via Pixabay.

If you’ve been watching the world of fashion and modeling for a while now, you probably have a rather well-defined idea of female beauty (unlike myself). However, that standard isn’t necessarily set in stone and has changed significantly in recent decades. Basically, female models have gotten thinner and thinner, up to the point where it’s bordering on anorexia. That just shouldn’t happen — the standard millions of people strive towards should, at the very least, represent good human health. Instead, most models undergo inhuman standards and lifestyles and the fashion world is riddled with eating disorders.

You’ll often hear models being obsessed with weight loss, and a study has shown that they’ll often be told they need to lose an unreasonable amount of weight and even conduct plastic surgery if they want to continue their careers.

With that it mind, one can only wonder why unhealthily thin models are still allowed to perform. Well, that’s exactly what France thought about, and they came up with a solution: simply ask models to have a healthy BMI. As a result, French agencies who employ too skinny models risk big fines and even jail time.

“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour,” said France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, in a statement on Friday, French media report.

The Body Mass Index is basically a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. It’s an estimate of how fat or thin a person is. While far from perfect and with pretty big setbacks (big muscles can be very misleading for instance, as they are much heavier than fat), it’s a decent method of having an idea about where you stand in terms of body fat. French models will now have to prove they have a BMI within normal limits, and models If whose BMI falls below 18.5 will not be allowed on the catwalk. France is only the latest country to implement this type of ban, following Italy, Spain, and Israel.

However, there are still ways around this ban. The biggest problem I see is that the doctor’s note is valid for two years, and a lot can change in two years. Many models are used to very strict diets, and they could just go on a regular diet before the doctor check, and then return to their previous ways.

Aside from this law, France passed another one aimed at destroying unrealistic beauty standards: all digitally retouched photos will carry the label “photographie retouchée,” indicating that they have been tampered with.


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