Israel Passes Skinny Model Legislation

In an effort to combat eating disorders, Israel’s Knesset has passed a law demanding that fashion models maintain a BMI over 18.5. According to ABC News, this means that a woman who was 5’8 with a weight of 120 lbs. could no longer be a model in Israel.

The man behind the bill says ABC, was fashion photographer Adi Barkan, who became concerned about the health of Israeli models after his friend, Hila Elmalich, an Israeli fashion model who died of complications resulting from an eating disorder. According to ABC, Elmalich weighed just 60 lbs. when she died.

According to The Times of Israel, Barkan also pushed the Knesset to develop a “Photoshop law” that restricted the use of Photoshop in advertising, keeping graphic artists from editing models to make them appear unhealthily skinny – without labeling the images so that those reading them know they are unrealistic.

The Times reports that Barkan has formed an organization called Simply U, which runs models through a 12-course program, designed to educate them about eating right and maintaining a proper BMI. After successfully seeing the laws he supported passed through the Knesset, says The Times, Barkan is now bringing both his programs and his campaign against allowing models to become too skinny to The United States.

While Barkan came up with the idea for the bill, Yedioth Ahronoth (Ynet) reports that the real legislation was drafted by the Likud Party’s Danny Dannon and former Kadima member Rachel Adatto.  According to Ynet, the two drafted the bill after realizing that problems resulting from eating disorders were increasing in Israel. Indeed, according to Ynet, as many as 500,000 Israelis may suffer from such disorders, though only 125,000 incidents have been reported to the Ministry of Health.

Israel is not the only country that is trying to regulate the weight of its models. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Spain and Italy have also implemented measures designed to help prevent models from becoming too skinny.  Indeed, says WSJ, models who have a BMI less than 18 are barred from attending the Madrid fashion show and models with a BMI less than 18.5 cannot participate in Milan’s Fashion Week.

Filed Under: Politics


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Miranda Flint About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda

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