STYLE
18/03/2015 17:15 GMT | Updated 30/03/2015 17:59 BST

France To Ban Excessively Skinny Models: Fashion Insiders Weigh In

France's government is inching closer to imposing a ban on models deemed to be too thin, but fashion insiders think the new legislation doesn't go far enough to promote a healthy body image.

The amendments proposed by socialist politician Olivier Veran, would impose regular weight checks on models and any breaches would result in fines of up to £60,000, with up to six months in jail for staff involved.

"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 told BFM TV on Monday.

The news has garnered a mostly positive response with commenters echoing Touraine's sentiments that this is a positive step for encouraging a positive body image for young women (and men). However the applause has been muted by a feeling that the new legislation alone will not have much of an impact.

"The French government is making a commitment to the wellbeing of models and this can only be a positive step in terms of promoting healthy body image," says Katie Jones, acting editor of My Daily. "However, the change needs to come from within the fashion industry if we want unrealistic messages around weight to be eradicated."

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Writer BritChick Paris adds: "Beauty today is calibrated on how thin you are and fashion has done nothing to reverse this. If anything they have imposed even more restrictions on models regarding their weight and height.

"Yet models represent 2% of the population, so the majority are left feeling worthless and 'fat'.

"France as the capital of couture has a responsibility to set healthy standards for young girls and women as well as the models. As the media and fashion houses are doing little right now to help build self-esteem and positive body confidence among their consumers it is up to the government to intervene."

Another area of contention is the way the models' weight will be measured and assessed.

According to Veran, models will have to present a medical certificate showing a Body Mass Index of at least 18, about 8st 6lb for a height of 5ft 7, before being hired for a job.

Model and blogger Georgina Grogan, who is the face of the Scarlett and Jo clothing range, is concerned that simply monitoring a model's weight is not a sensible way to assess their health.

"It's difficult to determine whether or not the models are naturally thin, or in fact are unhealthy, and therefore I think that in theory it would be a positive step, but quite difficult to legislate properly," she explains.

"I'm plus size, but I wouldn't consider myself to be an unhealthy person as I eat healthily, work out and have no medical conditions at all. If the models are healthy in these ways, but just underweight, it becomes tricky to enforce a ban.

"I believe that as long as people are happy in themselves, they are healthy. Saying this, if models have a physical illness as a result of being too thin, then I don't think they are healthy role models and shouldn't be fashion models in the public's eye."

France is not the first country to take this step. In 2013, Italy, Spain and Israel all instated laws prohibiting excessively thin models on catwalks or in advertising campaigns.

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