Who says healthy women can’t be sexy? Fashion Runways. With far-too-skinny models stomping the runways of London’s and New York’s fashion week last week, the discussions of body image and “what is too skinny?” surfaced.
Sure, there have been other efforts from several fashion organizations around the world, but most emphasize age minimums and healthy working environments, whatever that means. I want numbers people!
For the country of Israel, enough was enough.
Adi Barkan, an iconic fashion photographer was the one who spearheaded the efforts to bring the image of the healthy model back after one of his models died in his arms from anorexia. Barkan told NBC News, “When a child looks at the TV and they want to be skinny not for any reason just because they saw beautiful and skinny girls, that, we can change.” And change he did. Barkan pressed Israeli politicians to draw up and pass a law that bans models from working who have a lower body mass index (BMI) than 18.5, or less than 118 pounds if you’re 5’7’’. Wowzah. The law also enforces clear written disclaimers in magazines and newspapers advertisements that have digitally enhanced images.
Now let’s move from the harsh lights of the runways to the glossy pages of the magazines. Last year, 19 Vogue magazine editors from around the world joined together to make a pact to project the image of health models on their pages. They also agreed to “not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. However this pact doesn’t really allude to having any real requirements. Just seems to be a matter of opinion. Le sigh.
A law like the one passed in Israel would never even be thought about here in the U.S. because it would be viewed as a breach of free speech. However, personally, for young girls’ sake I would really like a nationwide law to require advertisements and editorials in magazines, like Vogue, to have a clear-written disclaimer that states the images have been digitally altered. Too often I see girls flipping through the pages of their favorite magazine and saying, “none of these people look like me,” or “I want to look like her.” So, if magazines don’t want to adopt this healthy model image, at least the government will have some control, allowing our young people access to the truth: these images of super-skinny women with flawless skin are indeed fake.
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