Breaking: France Is ThisClose to Banning Skinny Models

Natasha Poly at the Alessandro Dell’Acqua show Photo: imaxtree

It looks like skinny models in France are on a one-way train to being banned. Seriously. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The French parliament's lower house adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone — including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites — to publicly incite extreme thinness.


The National Assembly approved the bill in a series of votes Tuesday, after the legislation won unanimous support from the ruling conservative UMP party. It goes to the Senate in the coming weeks

Yeah, it's like whoa. If passed this would be the strongest legislation against skinny models ever in the whole world — but it's vague. When Spain banned rail-thin models from the catwalk in 2006, they used BMI as an indicator. In this case, however, there doesn't seem to be an official benchmark for the girls; a judge would decide if the medium "incited" thinness (as Websites, etc., are the main targets). Conservative lawmaker Valerie Boyer wrote the law:

It would give judges the power to imprison and fine offenders up to $47,000 if found guilty of "inciting others to deprive themselves of food" to an "excessive" degree, Ms. Boyer said in a telephone interview before the parliamentary session.


Judges could also sanction those responsible for a magazine photo of a model whose "excessive thinness ... altered her health," she said.

Naturally the French fashion industry is having fits over this. "Never will we accept in our profession that a judge decides if a young girl is skinny or not skinny," said Didier Grumbach, president of the French Federation of Couture. "That doesn't exist in the world, and it will certainly not exist in France." Well, he'll at least have a few weeks to start adjusting to the idea.

French Lawmakers Target Promotion of Extreme Thinness [AP/WSJ]