France Tightens the Thigh Gap

Victoire Dauxerre is thrilled about a new French law banning modeling agencies from hiring ultra-thin models. The former model told As It Happens co-host Carol Off “This law is great, and it’s necessary, because of the thousands of deaths related to anorexia and bulimia in France each year.”

France's MPs just voted in a law that punishes agencies and fashion houses with fines of up to $100,000 CND and jail sentence of six months if their models are malnourished or seriously underweight. Models will have to be assessed by doctors to determined if their body mass index (BMI) is above a certain number. That number has yet to be announced. 

French former model Victoire Dauxerre (Courtesy: Victoire Dauxerre)

Victoire Dauxerre is French, and she was a model during her teens. She struggled with anorexia - a disease that nearly killed her. "Obviously, the pressure is really high. Everyday, I wanted to be thinner and thinner. I just didn't eat anything." She met many girls who did eat, but threw up. As for the infamous 15 centimetre "thigh gap" models are aspire to, Dauxerre says that "the agencies would check [the gap] on a regular basis." 

Similar laws limiting malnourished models exist in Spain. But for France, the epicentre of the fashion industry, limiting a model's weight-loss is considered revolutionary by health advocates.

In the end, for Dauxerre, it comes down to the difference between healthy slim models and ones that are excessively underweight. "If the designers realize that they want slim models rather than thin skinny ones, then the agencies will hire slim French models, and everything will be ok." says Dauxerre.

Still, Dauxerre isn't convinced the industry will embrace the new law. She's looking ahead to next year's Paris Fashion Week to see if anything changes.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.