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Chad
27th June 2007, 01:57
It's rare that one can point to an example of government unambigulously doing something right.

But this is one of those times.

Last week, New York legislators thankfully passed Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera's bill to regulate the modelling profession, in order to curb the spread of eating disorders in the fashion world (and, by extension, in society).

Here is a brief report:

http://www.nypress.com/blogx/display_blog.cfm?bid=64653621

As the report notes:

Yesterday [June 21st] legislators passed the "skinny models" bill, which will bring health and industry experts to the table to create standards and guidelines for underage performers and models. The advisory board's suggestions on things like employment restrictions, weight or body mass requirements and medical screenings will be handed to the Commissioner of Labor.It also quotes Assemblyman Rivera as providing a brilliant (and tragically truthful) riposte to fashion-industry dislike of this measure:

"The President of the Council of Fashion Designers was quoted as saying that the government would be involved in regulating models size 'over my dead body,'" Rivera said. "We don't want any more dead bodies, that's the point of my legislation." So true. So very true.


The text of the actual bill can be found here:

http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A04250

It intends to create a

Child Performer Advisory Board to Prevent Eating Disorders for the purpose of recommending standards and guidelines for the employment of child performers and models under the age of 18 to prevent eating disorders.That Advisory Board, as the bill notes, will be made up of experts in the care and treatment (and hopefully, prevention) of eating disorders. The bill outlines the procedures of implementation, which are obviously patterned after the Madrid approach:

Subsection 2. Authorizes the Advisory Board to develop recommendations to the Commissioner establishing guidelines relating to the employment of child performers and models under the age of 18 and to consider: (a) weight for height standards or body mass index (BMI) standards; (b) employment restrictions for persons with diagnosed eating disorders or persons at risk for developing eating disorders; (c) requirement of medical screenings for persons who are risk; and (d) required referrals for treatment of diagnosed eating disorders.But the most significant wording appears in the "Justification" section, which echoes many of the sentiments that this forum has expressed on this topic:

JUSTIFICATION: The recent deaths of professional models from eating disorders, and previous deaths and illness suffered by entertainment professionals, have raised concerns about the need for government regulation to prevent these conditions and help those affected get treatment. The Madrid city government has established weight guidelines for models. The Council of Fashion Designers of America has come up with its own voluntary guidelines but eating disorder health professionals do not believe the industry self-regulation is sufficient.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the mortality rate among people with anorexia is estimated to be about 12 times higher than the average death rate due to all other causes of death for females aged 15 to 24 in the general population. In addition many experts believe that models and other performers who may have an unhealthy low weight set a dangerous example for young people susceptible to eating disorders. In May of 2000, the British Medical Association identified a link between the images of "abnormally thin" models which dominate TV and magazines, and a rise in eating disorders.It's about time that such a step was taken. How sad that it took several models' deaths to bring it about.

The fashion industry has had years, and countless opportunities, to reform its ways - to eschew its grotesque starvation ideal, and to introduce gorgeous, fuller-figured models onto the runways. But it cruelly and irresponsibly refused to do so. At last, the government is stepping in to protect young women everywhere from their pernicious and inhuman standard.

M. Lopez
28th June 2007, 03:35
When you read the text of the bill, and consider the tragic cases that lead up to it, it's astonishing that it took so long for something that is so obviously necessary to come about.

I find it a bit dodgy that the bill only aims to regulate specifically "underage" performers and models, as I'm certain that models over 18 or 21 are just as vulnerable to industry pressure as minors are. It would be appalling if the industry simply shifted from using starving teens to using starving 20-year-olds.

But the bill is a vital development. It sets an excellent example, and shows that where fashion abuses its power (i.e., everywhere and at all times, right now), government must step in to protect the health of the young girls who are so vulnerable to its brainwashing.

The bill itself recognizes its value in terms of global leadership:

Because New York is a leader in the fashion and entertainment industries employing many young people that could be at risk, and the State has taken a strong stance to prevent and treat eating disorders, it is important that government action be taken to protect those at risk
Let's hope that everyone involved realizes that beyond protecting the health of the models themselves, this bill must also stamp out the promotion of anorexia as an ideal, due to the toxic effect that this ideal has on young women in general. I was heartened to see this fact acknowledged in the bill's text:

models and other performers who may have an unhealthy low weight set a dangerous example for young people susceptible to eating disorders
Now, it will be up to the new Advisory Board that the bill creates to ban underweight models, and to insist that the industry use fuller-figured girls.

HSG
22nd July 2007, 23:50
I find it a bit dodgy that the bill only aims to regulate specifically "underage" performers and models, as I'm certain that models over 18 or 21 are just as vulnerable to industry pressure as minors are. It would be appalling if the industry simply shifted from using starving teens to using starving 20-year-olds.

But the bill is a vital development. It sets an excellent example, and shows that where fashion abuses its power (i.e., everywhere and at all times, right now), government must step in to protect the health of the young girls who are so vulnerable to its brainwashing.
This is a legitimate concern, as the U.K.'s "Model Health Inquiry" (a committe that was recently tasked with appraising the British fashion industry) established <i>zero</i> policies on weight and eating disorders, and instead, simply banned models under 16 years of age. In other words, it completely ignored the real problem (models being life-threateningly emaciated), and addressed a nonexistent problem, thereby allowing the fashion industry to continue forcing models to starve, and brainwashing young women around the world to emulate them.

In fact, it would be perfectly <i>fine</i> if the industry continued to use models under 16 years of age (with proper parental supervision, as in the case of child actresses), <i>so long as those models were full-figured.</i> The problem is not the models' <i>age,</i> it is their <i>emaciation.</i> Plus-size 16-year-olds would be far healthier models--healthier for themselves, and healthier for society--than anorexic 18-year-olds.

Let us hope that Assemblyman Rivera's bill recognizes the real problem, and addresses it, once and for all, by banning all underweight models, and by <i>mandating</i> (that's right, mandating) the use of fuller-figured models.

Christina Schmidt (test image by Douglas B.), showing what a <i>Vogue</i>-quality lingerie image with a plus-size goddess (size 14 at 5'6), rather than with an androgynous waif, would look like:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/cs/bizzaro02a.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/cs/bizzaro02.jpg" target="_blank">Click here for larger version</a>

Kaitlynn
23rd July 2007, 23:59
That photograph of Christina Schmidt is too gorgeous for words! I love her alluring expression, and the way that her hair spreads over the satin sheets is really exciting. Plus, I love the fact that her lingerie has an Old World, romantic quality, with the elaborate lace and the blue ribbon.

. . . .

Coming back to the subject of the thread, there was a good article on the topic of the starving-model debate posted on Fox News today, by the network's legal columnist.

Here's the link:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,290459,00.html

The whole article is very much worth reading, as the author is in tune with the consensus on this forum, but here are some highlights:

Today, sexy, curvaceous models have been replaced by anemic looking, bare bone stick figures. Yet models donít just affect the beauty standards ó they are the beauty standards. So itís downright irresponsible to showcase skeletal girls and pretend young girls will not emulate what they see. Itís painfully clear that the fashion industry wonít fix this problem on its own ... legal regulations on the industry seem to be the only solution.

When every working model is a waif it makes average women believe extreme skinniness is the norm, which of course it is not...Regulating the fashion industry and forcing them to promote healthy women who mirror a more realistic picture of an average body would help put an end to the epidemic of eating disorders and negative body images.

Conservative estimates approximate that 5 to 10 percent of women suffer from eating disorders...That means at least 5 to 10 million women may be struggling with this. These estimates are probably extremely low because many cases of eating disorders go unreported.

...21 studies reviewing more than 6,000 girls ages 10 and up show that those exposed the most to fashion are the ones who have the poorest body images.

...Regulating the people who represent beauty is the only way to effectively combat the poisonous and unhealthy images young women have been devouring. Young women have binged on hazardous beauty icons; forcing the modeling industry to cast healthy women is the only way to purge these noxious norms...

...To prevent breeding a society of women who judge sex appeal on how far their collar bone protrudes from their couture it's clear that there must be health regulations to restrict what the fashion industry declares is ďbeautifulĒ to vulnerable women.
The fact that this reasoning is coming from a professor of law makes it all the more valid and significant. She also makes an excellent point about why certain rationalizations against weight-related regulation are patent nonsense:

No test will ever be seamless; using a BMI test would result in rejecting models that are naturally thin as well. This might still be a propitious option because by removing these few naturally thin girls it will only help to project a more realistic picture of what women really look like.
In other words, it's irrelevant for what reason today's models look emaciated. The point is that they do, and therefore, they must be replaced by fuller-figured models, for the health and well-being of young women, and of society as a whole. And while government intervention of any kind can be problematic, this is clearly a case where it is urgently needed and warranted.

Graham
1st September 2007, 15:44
Christina Schmidt (test image by Douglas B.), showing what a <i>Vogue</i>-quality lingerie image with a plus-size goddess (size 14 at 5'6), rather than with an androgynous waif, would look like
I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that picture. It is, without a doubt, one of the most alluring lingerie images ever created, rivalling Barbara Brickner's Titianesque pose for Carnival Bridal. I hope Christina gets the opportunity to do more shoots for intimate apparel in the future - as long as no agency idiotically tries to make her starve to do so. If she remains at least a size 14, she could produce the loveliest images of plus-size beauty ever created.

Good news about the model-regulation bill that is the topic of this thread. The governor of New York has just signed it into law:

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-30-2007/0004654593&EDATE=

Despite the optimistic tone of the press release, however, I suspect that it's too late to affect the upcoming Fashion Week in New York. Next season, things should be different.

Let's hope the bill has "teeth," and finally forces the fashion establishment to ban underweight androgyny, and to start using fuller-figured models on the catwalks - and in the magazines. Otherwise, more drastic government intervention will definitely be required.