This morning came news that underweight models were banned from catwalks and adverts - hurrah, what a great thing to hear. But this first ever ban has been passed in only the one country- Israel.
The government have enforced the ban by using the body mass index to determine if the malnutrition is acceptable; anywhere below 18.5 would be an indication of malnutrition. This is a great move for the model industry where there has been a big change in attitude world wide in the last few years. Mark Fast used 'plus size' models - size 12 and 14 - in his Fall 2009 catwalk show to encourage the use of natural body shape (Mark Fast Blog Post) whilst only last week H&M were heavily critized for their use of a corpse-like model (H&M Corpse Blog Post). Whilst there are people trying to make a change in the fashion industry, there always seems to be people holding back.
Kate Moss' BMI would mean she wouldn't be seen in Israel.
The use of ultra-skinny models in catwalks has been 'accused of abetting eating disorders by glamorising extreme thinness', and the government in Israel are hoping the law will help cut down the numbers of people suffering with anorexia and bulimia. It is also hoping to raise awareness with the use of digital airbrushing and other skills to enhance the bodies of models in adverts.
The effects of adverts and media images can be unknown to many, however even writing this reminds me of young girls featured on Gok Wans The Naked Truth. Paige,15, was inspired by constant stream of images of skinny woman and was obsessed about her thighs touching when so many images where models legs weren't touching.(see Thinspiration Blog Post). It is young people like page who are naive and easily influenced by what the media are presenting, which is reason enough to follow Israels good example.
Of course, the use of BMI is questionable when it would also suggest that Brad Pitt and George Clooney are obese. But regular medical checks, similar to Israels procedures of having a medical report in the last three months, would be a logical and simple way to regulate the health of the models.
Apparently UK and USA governments are watching how this law pans out, with no real laws on health within the modeling world, only guidelines for advertisers and designers.
Israel Bans Use Ultra Skinny Models Daily Mail