Israel passes law banning underweight models

In international news, Israel has decided to ban the use of anorexic-looking models. The law requires that models show proof of weight and have a body-mass index of no less than 18.5. Rachel Adato, a member of the Israeli House of Representatives, Knesset, pushed the bill in hopes of promoting a healthier (and subsequently, less coke-blowing) body image for young women all over the country.

Israeli model agent, fashion photographer, and bill supporter Adi Barkan went on to say: 

"I look (back) 15 to 20 years ago, we shot models (sized) 38. Today it's 24... this is the difference between thin and too thin. This is the difference between death and life." 

Critics of the law go on to say that some women can't help being that thin and, in fact, do not purge after large meals of Taco Bell — it's just the way they were born! Israel's top billed model, Adi Neumman, would not be able to find work under the new law as her BMI is a meek 13.5, regardless of the fact that she claims to eat healthily.

In Israel, two percent of girls between the age of fourteen and eighteen have severe eating disorders. Meanwhile, one-hundred percent of the world at large seems unhappy with something about the way they look. If every person on Earth could choose models who would make them feel better about their own bodies, you'd see a lot of slouchy, lanky, big-nosed-sons-of-bitches walking down the runways on my account. 

Tags Israel

Commentarium (8 Comments)

Mar 21 12 - 12:27pm
nope

:(
Every body is beautiful and a BMI is not indicative of an eating disorder. I understand the logic behind it but it seems awfully wrong-headed to me.

Mar 21 12 - 12:29pm
normal-looking lady

What is that last part supposed to mean? I'm quite certain that the intent behind this law isn't to force agencies to choose only models that accurately reflect every level of attractiveness on the planet in order to boost the self-esteem of "slouchy, lanky, big-nosed sons-of-bitches." Pretty sure that they simply don't want to encourage the apparent one hundred percent of people that are insecure about their image to strive for a body type that is mostly only attainable through unhealthy behavior, especially for the average person.

Of course models are always going to be much more attractive than most people; they tend to set the standard of (female) beauty in our society, and that should be obvious just by what they're called. But when you are setting the standard you have a responsibility not to avoid hurting people's feelings (as you've implied), but to present an ideal that does not so blatantly involve harmful bodily practices.

Mar 21 12 - 1:44pm
Sean

The thing is, models aren't meant to be ROLE models. Models are basically empty billboards to drape advertising on. When I see a model I don't whine about not looking like them, I think "Oh, I'd buy those pants if they were cheaper."

Mar 21 12 - 2:55pm
normal-looking lady

You are really not getting this, are you? IT'S NOT ABOUT PREVENTING WHINING AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM. State agencies don't give a flying fuck about your body confidence. They ARE however concerned with public health, and the more perceptive ones are picking up on things marketers have always known: women's advertising relies almost entirely on the desire of female consumers to be as attractive as the models (again, standards of beauty) shilling whatever it is they're selling. Since that standard has overwhelmingly shifted to equating extreme thinness to attractiveness, governments are catching on (and Israel isn't the first) to the fact that this could prove serious public health problem among half of their constituents as they are pressured more and more to "buy into" an image that is seriously detrimental to their health.

Now, are these laws addressing the root problem? Of course not. The real issue at hand here is that women are being purposely manipulated this way at all (there is no real "standard of male beauty" in our society and thus advertisers can't really capitalize on it), but to address that on a state level would be completely outside of the realm of our current governmental systems. As it is, their biggest responsibility is to prevent widespread harm to their constituents and this, I think, is a valid way to start.

Mar 21 12 - 3:34pm
steve

""(there is no real "standard of male beauty" in our society and thus advertisers can't really capitalize on it)""

this is obviously incorrect.

Mar 21 12 - 5:16pm
normal-looking lady

That needs clarification, but for the sake of brevity in an already long-winded post I left it as it was. Of course there are men in the public sphere that are presented as being objectively attractive, and certainly that must have some effect on the average male's perception of himself in comparison to those people. The difference lies in the word "standard." A famous/highly visible attractive man can be burly or trim, prominently aging or young and fresh-faced, and pretty much everything in between. The same does not go for women, and I doubt it ever has. Is it a product of what the bulk of society simply considers attractive, or is it straight-up corporate manipulation? In my opinion, in this day and age it is a lot of both. And when advertisers are taking advantage of that pre-existing standard and molding it into something that leads women to inflict harm unto themselves in pursuit of it, that is dangerous and should be addressed.

Apr 30 12 - 9:26pm
Sexual Psychic

This is a fine way to help prevent the problem of girls (and now boys to greater and greater extents) starving themselves to mimic unrealistic beauty ideals. It officially promotes anorexia and bulimia from a problem of individuals to a social problem worthy of policy solutions.

Culturally, to girls and young women, models are much more than "empty billboards to drape advertising on" as a writer above says with a scorn for models that I find unbelievable. Step outside your individual perspective and see the societal issue at stake: the survival of girls and women who are inspired to go to any length to look like low-BMI models.

--Sallie the Sexual Psychic

May 05 12 - 4:17pm
Sexual Psychic

In news (on Nerve) I see that Vogue will discontinue hiring models who appear to have an eating disorder. BUT will they stop Photoshopping to cut pounds off? Here is the worse Photoshopping job I think I have ever seen: http://paper.li/SexualPsychic/1335379523 -- imported to Tumblr from Nerve

-- Sallie the Sexual Psychic