Israel Passes Law Banning Underweight Models

Like England before them, Israel is making inroads to ban insidious photoshopping. Along the way, they’ve apparently made the first attempt to regulate the use of excessively thin models by government legislation. On Monday night, Israel passed a surprising new law that will not only require any advertisement published for the Israeli market to clearly disclose the use of digital manipulation to make subjects appear thinner… it will also hold models to minimum weight standards.

While the CFDA has an extremely toothless set of “guidelines” in place and other fashion capitals expect the industry to self-regulate (it won’t), Israel will soon require models to prove that their Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher than the World Health Organization’s indication of malnourishment: 18.5. They’ll need to do so by producing a medical report, no older than three months, at all shoots to be used in the Israeli market. The law won’t apply to foreign publications that are sold in Israel.

Israel has a very small group of working models–about 300, according to The Telegraph–the most famous of whom is Bar Refaeli up there. It’s a tiny market, compared to the thousands that work in New York, Paris, Milan, etc.

Although we think BMI is a dubious measure of health and wellness, we do think this represents positive change in a hugely fucked-up industry. Moreover, if that fucked-up industry can change, it’ll have an impact outside itself: people, after all, are overwhelmingly influenced by standard of beauty depicted in advertisements.


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    • sue

      amazing! i hope it actually works

    • sheherbano

      this really upsets me. my bmi is 15.4, and it’s always been around there-ish. there are lots of girls who arent starving themselves but have lower bmis and are just generally skinny, and closing the market off just feels kind of..discriminatory. granted, i understand where it’s coming from, but if they did the same for people ABOVE a certain bmi measurement it would be seen as pretty shitty. yes, i know the plus size model industry has its issues, but there are no actual – that i know of – weight or bmi regulations..i mean, it pretty much goes by what you look like, yes? so if there’s a skeletal, anorexic-looking girl that you don’t want to model for your company, then that makes sense; as it makes sense to not hire maybe someone who looks larger than what you’re going for – but it’s all about aesthetics. closing jobs to people based on arbitrary measurements (i say arbitrary because bmi doesn’t take into account muscle mass, bone mass, etc) just doesn’t sit right with me.