Au revoir, super skinny models
France, arguably the fashion capital of the world, has officially banned 'unhealthy' female models in an attempt to curb unrealistic body images portrayed in media that negatively influence young women. Legislation which came into effect earlier this month stipulates that models will be required to provide a doctor's certificate attesting to their overall health and proving that their body mass index (BMI) meets the minimum requirement of 18 before being allowed to walk the runway.
There is a possibility that the action will have a symbolic impact in the international modelling industry. Though mum on the details, founder of Pulse Model Agency, Kingsley Cooper, confirmed with The Gleaner that the company has minimum standard requirements for model recruitment.
"In 37 years, and after placing hundreds of models in the international market, I am only aware of one instance [of a model being underweight]. In that case, the model had lost weight due to illness. She has recovered well and now meets the required standard," Cooper said.
NO IMMEDIATE CONCERN
He affirmed that the new legislation will not affect models currently signed with the agency.
"Certainly our international models know what's required, because we advise them accordingly. They are generally healthy, eat well, and maintain the required physique," he continued.
Following the news, founder of the Curvy Caribbean Conference, Alisia Jarrett, told The Gleaner she is delighted.
"I have to say that I'm happy that we're looking at people's health. I am happy that the relevant persons in authority are waking up and are letting persons know that they don't have to starve themselves, for them who have pressured women over the years to be thin," Jarrett said.
The first Curvy Caribbean Conference, which took place last month, invited international female plus-size ambassadors to participate in two days of networking and showcasing products designed specifically for plus-size women.
"Women have been killing themselves to be thin. We're not promoting obesity. Maybe you're a size zero and you're beautiful. We're not shaming women. What we're looking at is a person's health, people accepting themselves and redefining their beauty," Jarrett said.
Another French law now dictates that all digitally altered photographs published in magazines, in advertisements or on websites must be labelled 'photographie retoucheÈ' (retouched photograph). Agencies found to be in breach of the new legislation could be fined €75,000 (£64,000) and the agency's staff face up to six months in prison.