Models looking for work in France will now have to pass an examination that deems them healthy, following legislation that passed France's National Assembly Thursday. The law, which was part of a larger health bill that has been under consideration for months, essentially bans excessively thin fashion models.
Models' health has been a controversial topic over the past couple of years. It's been widely reported that anorexia affects between 30,000 to 40,000 people in France, 90% of whom are female.
The legislation will require all models applying for jobs in the country to provide a medical certificate by a professional that proves their health and Body Mass Index (BMI) are appropriate based on their weight, age and body shape. A previous version of the legislation had set a minimum BMI, according to the BBC. The average BMI for French women is 23.2, the BBC reports, and a normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
This new law has teeth: Any employer who breaks it could land themselves in prison for up to six months and pay a fine of 75,000 Euros (or around $81,000). And it doesn't stop there, either. French government officials said that commercial photographs of models whose appearances have been digitally altered, meaning bigger or smaller, must mention “retouched photograph.” That measure will take effect by Jan. 1, 2017.
France isn't the only country that has been considering such proposals. It follows in the footsteps of countries like Israel, Italy and Spain.