Knesset will vote to ban underweight models

Agent removed from meeting after saying MK Adatto must “fatten up” to meet her legislation’s standards.

March 5, 2012 16:41
1 minute read.

anorexia anorexic eating disorder skinny 390. (photo credit: iStockphoto)


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Underweight models will no longer be able to appear in advertisements, according to a bill submitted by MKs Rachel Adatto (Kadima) and Danny Danon (Likud) that was prepared for its second and third (final) plenum readings on Monday.

Should the legislation pass its final votes, models with a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5 would not be able to appear in advertisements.

In addition, any advertisement in which computer editing was used to make a model thinner, would have to say so clearly.

The bill is meant to stop the presentation of too-thin fashion models as a physical ideal for young girls who are at risk of anorexia and bulimia.

“Extremely thin models have become the ideal in the advertising world, which surrounds us all day long and tells us what to buy and what to do,” Adatto said. “They can no longer serve as role models for innocent youth that adopt and copy the illusion of thinness.”

According to the Kadima lawmaker, 1,500 teenagers develop an eating disorder each year, and 5 percent of those suffering from anorexia die each year.

Danon said that the fashion industry is using a disease to earn money, and it is responsible for encouraging teens to become anorexic.

He called overly thin models a “social and strategic threat” whose removal would save millions of shekels in medical bills.

Models and agents participated in the meeting, with some in favor and some opposed to the legislation.

Agent Roberto Ben- Shushan told Adatto that, in his opinion, she is very thin and may be underweight.

“How would you feel if you were told you’d have to fatten up before every meeting in the Knesset?” he asked.

Ben-Shushan was removed from the meeting.

Fashion model Adi Neumann said the bill’s goal is admirable, but BMI alone is not enough to tell if a person is healthy. Models’ muscle and fat percentage should be taken into consideration, she said.

However, fashion photographer and agent Adi Barkan spoke out in support of the bill, saying that any agent who claims he has not asked a model to lose weight is lying.

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