France’s lower house of parliament on Friday (April 3) passed a measure banning excessively thin fashion models and exposing modelling agencies and the fashion houses that hire them to possible fines and even jail.
The controversial bill was widely debated in the lower house, with dissenters saying it would make it give foreign models an advantage in the industry.
Socialist Member of Parliament, Olivier Veran, who spearheaded the bill, said new measures would require models to undergo a full medical assessment proving they are not undernourished before being hired.
“In the bill, I suggest that from now on, a model must go through a medical visit before she is hired which would evaluate the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is calculated by dividing the weight over the height square and this index is used by the World Health Organization to determine if someone is undernourished or even in a state of famine and I suggest that the medical certificate for work ability can not be delivered to people who are undernourished and who therefore are putting their life and health in danger,” Veran told Reuters Television while the bill was still being debated in March.
The measure is part of a wider crack-down on anorexia backed by President Francois Hollande’s government. Lawmakers during the night approved a separate measure making it illegal to condone anorexia, a move targeting Internet sites that encourage dangerous weight loss.