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Will France Make Fashion Anorexia Illegal?

Posted on Apr 27, 2008 at 11:57AM

ana's anorexic womanAs most of my readers will know, I have always been concerned about how fashion media affects our young girls and women and the media's responsibility in the eating disorder epidemic (editorial entitled "Coutore Torture" for On a positive note, France shares my concerns. France's Parliament passed legislation that looks like it might make fashion anorexia illegal. As it still needs to pass the French Senate next month, conservatives and liberals are having a heyday debating this controversial law.

Judges in France would be asked to enforce new legislation aimed at websites and fashion advertising that they think encourage, specifically, anorexia. $47,000 fines and a 2-year prison term would be imposed on those who compromise health by encouraging girls through ads, products, or diets to “excessive thinness.” The fine and prison sentencing could be as great as $71,000, if someone is put at risk of death or dies after following a restrictive eating regimen. Whew, c'est terrible! C'est beaucoup de Francs!

a woman torturing herself with courtureThe National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states that approximately eight million people in the United States have anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and related eating disorders. Eight million people represents about three percent (3%) of the total population. To consider the epidemic proportions eating disorders have reached in the United States, that is three out of every one hundred people in this country that has an eating disorder and has sought treatment. That number doesn't include the hordes of women that haven't reached out for professional help.

In addition, "Pro-ana" sites and blogs - for pro-anorexia - have flourished on the Internet, often hosted by young girls and women sharing stories of how they deprive their bodies of food.

Brains on Beauty: Science has not proven whether this is a glitch in the person's brain and can't be helped, or it's learned behavior from all the anorexic models, actors, and media supporting unhealthy thinness. In my humble opinion, it is a combination of all of the above, including other extraneous factors (i.e. home environment, peer pressure).

With the jury still out on the cause of eating disorders, I can't condone France's hard line approach to dealing with the media. You know what happens when the government gets involved in free capital issues. Not only does corruption loopholes or other means to circumvent the system arise, but usually the legislation and ensuing laws are ineffective.

Source: Los Angeles Times

1 Comment --
posted by Anita
Sun, 04/27/2008 - 8:40pm

Hmmm. What's more French than Chanel? Karl Lagerfeld's stand on thin models vs. more normal BMI standard models has been stated in fashion magazines for years - KL is all about the skinny. Most fashion designers are; what shows off clothing better than human hangers? I think this mindset is rooted very deep, and trying to legislate the media is only going to cause more problems. PS - I like it when you're on your soapbox. These issues need forums for discussion, so, thanks!

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