France to Models: Skinny Is Out

Update 5/6/17: Effective today, France will enforce a law requiring any model wishing to work in the country to furnish a medical certificate attesting to his or her state of health, especially in regard to their body-mass index. And, beginning October 1, the words “photographie retouchée” (“retouched photograph”) must accompany any manipulated advertising image, whether digital or print.

Perhaps moved by increasingly derisive public outcry, particularly online, France is cracking down on portrayals of excessive thinness. A law banning too-skinny models has been adopted, following similar measures in Italy, Spain, and Israel.

Under the new law, models applying for work in France must provide a medical certificate proving their overall health is good and that their Body Mass Index (BMI) is appropriate for the job. Employers must require the certificate and agencies must make it available for each model. Infractions can result in up to six months behind bars and a hefty fine of up to 75,000 euros.

French officials have also signed into law a stipulation, commencing no later than January 1, 2017, that commercial photos of models whose bodies has been digitally altered to appear thinner (or larger) must include the disclaimer “retouched photograph.” Fines start at 37,500 euros, up to 30 percent of the ad spend.

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