March 20th, 2012

Israel Bans Use of Underweight Models

Israel has passed a law that bans the use of “underweight” models in advertising, and mandates that ads that are retouched to make models appear thinner must include a disclaimer.

According to reports, a fashion photographer and model agent named Adi Barkan has helped promote the bill, which was introduced by Knesset member Rachel Adato.

“I look (back) 15 to 20 years ago, we shot models (sized) 38. Today it’s 24,” Barkan said. “This is the difference between thin and too thin. This is the difference between death and life.”

The law requires that models appearing at photo shoots for ads that will appear in the Israeli market must show a medical report stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards. The standard used by the WHO is “body mass index,” or BMI.

Under the new law, models must present a bill of health that is no more than three months old. Foreign publications sold in Israel will not be required to abide by the new law.

Opposition figures, including Adi Neumman, one of Israel’s top models, argue that the use of BMI is arbitrary and doesn’t allow for different body types. Neumman said she wouldn’t pass the requirement even though she eats well, exercises and is healthy.

“Force actual tests. Make girls go to a doctor. Get a system to follow girls who are found to be puking,” she said, according to an AP report.