So the new anti-thin law is now being enforced on French couturiers, whereby, doctors have to provide certificates that prove models are a certain BMI before they walk up and down the runway. Many are dangerously thin, with some even deemed anorexic.
Mythical stories of diets containing cotton wool and water are rife. The thought alone is hard to stomach.
If you read the latest book by Victoria Dauxerre, ‘Never Thin Enough’, it is obvious that the fashion world are prepared to make young girls sick in the name of their designs which is just monstrous. Models aren’t humans with needs, they are seen as a commodity, which can be adapted, and manipulated to suit their artistic needs. The industry is already under fire with many saying they will conspire against the new law, by using doctors who are prepared to turn a blind eye, or that the girls will overload with water or binge eat for their weigh in.
Is weight a true marker of healthiness? Proving a model is above the limit doesn’t pick up any eating issues or physical ailments. So clearly this law won’t protect the model necessarily but will it have a greater impact on the broader public - will it curb diseases such as anorexia and address more generally low self-esteem in teens?
The industry cynical response is that a magazine ad or a poster super skinny girl isn’t enough to trigger an eating disorder. They are however, failing to recognize that they set the tone for the high street. Because of this, shop mannequins are now a size 8 instead of a normal 12. Three quarters of teen girls and young women are unhappy with how they look; it’s a dangerous assumption. Especially when they aren’t taught at school or at home to interpret these images correctly - they're often photo-shopped and unrepresentative of reality. It’s a slippery slope, one bad ad here, an instagram picture there, and ‘fat chat’ at school and before you know it a diet begins.
And for those that are fragile, maybe borderline anorexic, these images are extremely destructive. An extremely underweight model normalises the disease, it makes them think it’s ok to look like that. Worse still they want to beat that person’s skinniness and so their disorder spirals further. We need to do everything we can - a simple law won’t make teens confident, overnight.
More needs to happen - confidence as part of school curriculum, enforced alerts on ads if they have been edited for example. For if the government doesn’t protect these girls, some as young as 13, then what else can we do? The fashion industry is starting to make some changes by using "real" models who in turn are gaining huge instagram gatherings and iconic status’.
So with extra pressure and honesty from the fashion industry on photo-shopped pictures, and more celebrities being honest about weight gain we are at least stepping in the right direction to show young girls and women that they don’t need to bow to such body image pressure.
Kelly is Create & Develop Resourcing's Candidate Manager. Kelly has an impressive background - an accomplished Area / Training Manager within Fashion and Beauty retail, Kelly also has previous success in Fashion Recruitment. Kelly brings extensive People Management, HR and Resourcing knowledge to the team in her role as Create & Develop's main point of contact for our candidates.