Models in France must now submit doctors notes stating they're not too thin to work
French court rules that fashion models need medical certificates indicating a healthy weight in order to work
After years of speculation about France's impending ban on "super-skinny" models, lawmakers in the country have finally adopted a bill that makes medical certificates a must-have accessory in the fashion capitol of the world.
The new law, approved by French MPs on Thursday, mandates that all models must provide their employers with doctors notes confirming a healthy body weight before legally working in France.
Employers who fail to provide these health documents upon inspection can be punished for up to six months in jail and a whopping €75,000 (approximately $114,000 Cdn) fine.
Harsh as the punishment may seem, an estimated 30-000 - 40,000 people in France have been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa according to French legistlator Olivier Veran – many of them teenagers.
A previous (and perhaps more contentious) version of the bill France just adopted proposed that there should be a minimum Body Mass Index (BMI) for models. But, as critics pointed out at the time, a person's BMI is far from the only indicator of their general health.
"Just because someone is at a very low BMI doesn't mean that they have an eating disorder," said Claire Mysko, Director of Programs for the U.S. National Eating Disorders Association, to VOA News in April. "And just because someone's in the normal range or even in the high range of BMI doesn't mean that they don't have an eating disorder either."
Taking arguments like these into account, French MPs rejected the BMI clause and instead agreed to let doctors determine whether or not a model is too thin based on "a range of criteria, including age, gender and body shape," according to The Guardian.
While runway models have traditionally been the focus of headlines about "excessively thin" models, Deputies in France's National Assembly also agreed on Thursday to an article that pertains to digitally altered commercial photographs containing models.
Published images containing photos of models who've been touched up, either to appear smaller or larger, must bear a mention that reads "retouched photograph" as of Jan. 1. 2017.
Violating this law will result in a fine of at least €37,500 (about $57,000 Cdn), or up to 30 per cent of what was spent on the advertisement.
To put that into context, the French-based cosmetics brand L'Oreal spent $2.34 billion on ads in 2013 alone.