The fashion industry’s obsession with thin has long been a problem. But where before horror stories were hushed up, now, more and more models are willing to divulge tales of being told to constantly lose weight – even when their health was seriously at risk.
This desire to promote only one type of body is seen as a likely influence on eating disorders with over 725,000 people in the UK suffering from anorexia and bulimia among others.
While Britain has held inquiries into body image, nothing concrete has ever been put into place. But at the beginning of this year, France began to implement plans to improve public health.
One particular law has recently come to light and is set to change the game that fashion magazines and advertisers play with model and celebrity bodies. The French government has decided that it should be mandatory to clearly label a photo where a model’s body has been edited.
“Photographs for commercial use featuring the bodies of models that have been edited using any digital software that could modify the appearance of the model must be clearly marked with the words ‘Retouched Photograph’,” states the legislation.
Psychologist Dr Glen Waller carried out a study into the effects of thin models on young women. “We have come to the conclusion that, while the use of thin models does not cause abnormal eating, it does cause greater body distortion in women who are already disturbed. And this group includes anyone already sensitive to the way they look, such as most adolescents,” he told the Guardian earlier this year.
In doing this, France has become the first country to seriously crack down on image retouching. Whether the fashion industry will obey remains to be seen but it’s a step in the right direction.
It comes at a time when several independent lingerie brands are turning away from svelte figures and choosing plus size models to star in un-retouched campaigns and leading industry figures are demanding agencies ensure models remain healthy.
After all, size zero is not real, not healthy and certainly not the ‘ideal body type’.