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France bans ultra-thin models; could it happen here?

Body Image
Body Image
Charlotte Astrid via Flickr

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The French National Assembly passed two measures Friday that effectively ban ultra-thin models.

France is just the latest country to regulate the industry; Israel, Spain and Italy each have bans of their own. French models and agencies now have to adhere to strict body mass index (BMI) guidelines. Violation of these rules could result in fines of up to 75,000 euros ($82,000) for the contravening agency. Agencies found to be encouraging dangerous eating habits could face fines of 100,000 euros.

The decision by the French Assembly is just the latest move in French President’s Francois Hollande’s campaign against anorexia in the country’s modeling industry. France’s assembly believes anorexia in modeling to be a matter of public health, arguing that young men and women who see the emaciated models may themselves pick up unhealthy eating habits. Temple University Sociology professor Amanda Czerniawski tells AirTalk that that the decision in France could have a significant impact on the industry globally. “When France takes actions like that, the world pays attention,” she says.

Today on AirTalk we take a look at America’s modeling industry: is it time we look into regulations of our own? Do noticeably skinny models promote unhealthy body images among young people? Or could overregulation of the industry lead to new problems?


Trish Jones-Bendel, President of ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders)

Amanda Czerniawski, Professor of sociology at Temple University, where she teaches courses on bodies, gender and culture. Author of “Fashioning Fat,” which explores the world of plus-sized modeling.