Israel has implemented a law that prohibits underweight models from working in an attempt to stem the rising rates of eating disorders. The law also makes it compulsory for publications to reveal any Photoshopping that has been done on images as part of post-production work.
According to the new law, models who work in Israel will have to have a medical certificate no older than three months which states their BMI or body mass index – a standard which determines malnutrition levels. So to keep on working, a model will have to pay the doctor a visit four times each year.
Any adverts in Israeli magazines now have to post a disclosure notice which reveals if the images have been Photoshopped in any way. Foreign magazines, however, are exempt from these laws.
Although this is officially the first law to ban thin models, the issue has always been discussed. A few weeks ago, the London School of Economics did an economic analysis of the eating disorder anorexia and suggested that there should be regulations in place to reduce the number of overly skinny models. France too has banned images that project extreme thinness. Even the UK now has an Advertising Standards Authority which has strict prerequisites.
While the law is applauded, its effectiveness in preventing eating disorders is debatable. After all, Marc Jacobs who is on the CFDA board does not adhere to the rules himself. So why would anyone else?