PARIS: A law banning the use of unhealthily thin and anorexic fashion models has come into effect into France.
Models will need to provide a doctor’s certificate attesting their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight in relation to height.
The health ministry said the aim is to fight eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty.
Furthermore, digitally altered photos will also have to be labelled from 1 October.
Those images where a model’s appearance has been manipulated will need to be marked photographie retouchée (retouched photograph).
A previous version of the bill had suggested a minimum BMI for models, drawing protests from modelling agencies in France.
Models must now provide a doctor’s note when applying for jobs.
The final version, backed by parliamentarians in 2015, allows doctors to decide whether a model is too thin by taking into account their weight, age, and body shape.
Employers breaking the law could face fines of up to 75,000 euros and up to six months in jail.
France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, in a statement on Friday, as reported by French media said:
“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour.”
France is not the first country to legislate on underweight models as Italy, Spain and Israel have all done so previously.
Anorexia affects between 30,000 to 40,000 people in France, 90percent of whom are women.