Too-skinny Israeli models will need to bulk up under a new law that bans underweight models in advertising and on the runway.
The Israeli government passed a law that requires models to provide medical proof of their weight, and they are required to have a BMI of at least 18.5. Advertisements must also contain warnings if an image has been edited to make the model look thinner.
Critics of the law are calling it “arbitrary,” and say that the law should have focused on health rather than weight, because some models are naturally thin.
“I know many models who are totally healthy girls who might be disqualified because of the law,” Eli Edri of the Roberto Models Agency told Haaretz. “Such a law would disqualify them without determining whether they are really sick or not.”
BBC reports that 2 percent of girls in Israel ages 14 through 18 have severe eating disorders. The law is intended to curb unrealistic body images that are promoted through fashion.
Israel isn’t the first country to take steps toward controlling fashion imagery to protect women from eating disorders. Norway, France and England have also proposed measures such as warning labels on Photoshopped images.
However, the law could also lead to more virtual modeling, such as the digital mannequins used by mega-retailer H&M. The company uses computer-generated bodies to sell swimsuits and bikinis, and a real model’s head is digitally added to the body — a practice that has also found many critics, who say that the company is too cheap to pay real models, and is creating an “unrealistic physical ideal.”