They said/We said: Israel has become the first country to legally ban the use of underweight models
It’s been a landmark year for the international modeling industry what with the CFDA’s new suggested age restrictions and the somewhat ridiculous banning of a bajillion British ads. But now, Israel has become the first country to legally regulate the weight of working models.
According to the bill passed Monday, models attending castings must now bring medical documentation from the past three months proving they have a BMI of at least 18.5—below which the World Health Organization deems you officially malnourished. As a point of reference, Kate Moss has a BMI of around 17 whereas Naomi Campbell’s is a totally shocking 6.5. Well, looks like those two can officially say goodbye to an Israeli ad campaign.
All ads produced for the Israeli market must also have a clear statement saying the photo has been altered to make the model appear skinnier. We can only imagine the happy dance the British Advertising Standards Authority is doing right now.
Of course, there are some critics who are saying the new law should be based on health, not on weight. According to them, some models are naturally very thin and would be unfairly excluded from work because of their normal size.
The new rules won’t apply to foreign publications sold in Israel, so we can’t expect to see any major international changes just yet. But this is a definite step in the right direction. Clearly, the loose industry guidelines set in the US and UK aren’t quite enough to set some of the more rebellious designers straight (hint hint: Marc Jacobs).
Daily Mail: “Israel bans adverts featuring super skinny models in bid to crack down on eating disorders (so Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell are out).” [Daily Mail]
Fashionista: “Since Israel only has about 300 professional models, and since the law only applies to photos and ads that will run locally in Israel, the new law is unlikely to affect many models’ careers. The hope, though, is that it does much more.” [Fashionista]
Paige Dzenis, associate online editor: “Another great step in keeping models healthy—but will the international fashion capitals (Paris, Milan, London…) follow suit?”