Ultra-skinny models are to be confined to history after the a law came into effect in Israel for the start of 2013.
Only healthy looking models with a Body Mass Index of more than 18.5, such as the country’s most famous export, Bar Refaeli, will be able to work there.The law, approved by the Knesset (the government’s legislating branch) last March, requires models to produce a medical report showing they have maintained a healthy BMI for three months before a shoot or catwalk show.It also bans the use of models who ‘appear underweight’, meaning advertisers are not allowed to make a model’s body look thinner than it really is using air-brushing.
Brands who digitally alter photographs to trim away unwanted weight from models will have to clearly mark the resulting images to indicate that they have been manipulated.The law was brought in to discourage the idealisation of excessively thin bodies following a rise in eating disorders in Israeli society, particularly among young girls.Bar Rafaeli is believed to have a healthy BMI of 18.8, at 5ft 8in and 9st 1lb.But the 27-year-old is clearly curvier than some others, and has regularly appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, as well as modelling for Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Gap and Marks & Spencer.
The new law was drafted by Danny Danon of right-wing party the Likud and Rachel Adatto of centrist/liberal party Kadima, the Times of Israel reported.’This law is another step in the war against eating disorders,’ said Ms Adatto, a physician, after a preliminary reading of the draft law in 2011.Underweight models, she said, ‘can no longer serve as role models for innocent young people who adopt and copy the illusion of thinness.’She added: ‘Beautiful is not anorexic’.
A report presented to the Knesset in 2002 found that five per cent of young Israelis suffered from eating disorders. Of those, 90 per cent were girls between the ages of 12 and 20.Models will now have to produce a medical report before they are allowed to work in the country – but this may not affect many, because Israel only has a pool of around 300 working models, according to an article from the time in the Telegraph.
Einat Wilf, chairwoman of the Knesset, admitted to a certain level of scepticism over the law at Tel Aviv Fashion Week last month.’As a legislator, [Knesset] is aware many of our laws do not get enforced,’ she said. ‘So I’m not sure how well this one will be.’BMI is the globally accepted method for estimating human body fat based on an individual’s weight and height.But critics have said the legislation should focus on health, not weight, because some models are naturally thin, and BMI does not take genetics into account.
The issue with super-thin models exacerbating probelms with anorexia is a frequent matter of concern.In 2006, countries including Italy and India banned underweight models from the catwalk after two anorexic models in Uruguay and Brazil died.Uruguayan Luisel Ramos, 22, collapsed and died soon after stepping off the runway, reportedly of anorexia-linked heart failure.
Other governments have taken steps to prevent ‘size zero’ medical problems but have shied away from legislation.In 2008, Madrid Fashion Week banned models whose BMI was below 18, while Milan’s fashion week bans models with a BMI below 18.5.The UK and US have guidelines, but the industry is self-regulated. – DailyMail