Bones of contention: France to pass bill banning super-skinny models

France’s government is likely to back a bill banning excessively thin fashion models as well as potentially fining the modeling agency or fashion house that hires them and sending the agents to jail, the health minister said on Monday. Style-conscious France, with its fashion and luxury industries worth tens of billions of euros, would join Italy, Spain and Israel which all adopted laws against too-thin models on catwalks or in advertising campaigns in early 2013.

It’s important for fashion models to say that they need to eat well and take care of their health, especially for young women who look to the models as an aesthetic ideal.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine

The law would enforce regular weight checks and fines of up to 75,000 euros ($79,000) for breaches, with up to six months in jail for staff involved, Socialist lawmaker Olivier Veran, who wrote the amendments, told Le Parisien. Models would have to present a medical certificate showing a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 18 – about 55 kg for a height of 173cm, before being hired for a job. The bill’s amendments also propose penalties for anything made public that could be seen as encouraging extreme thinness.