Women and Girls Lead: In Israel, Healthy Is Beautiful

Posted by RMPBS on

Courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel

On Monday, the Israeli government passed into law a bill banning the use of underweight models in Israeli advertising. The Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, passed the bill in hopes that it will lead to a decline in eating disorders and promote a healthy body image.

"Today the plenum started a revolution in the way beauty is perceived in Israel", said Knesset Member Rachel Addato. By targeting the modeling and advertising industry, Israel hopes to combat anorexia in a key battleground, by preventing the country's younger generation from emulating unhealthy behavior.

When private institutions are responsible for telling young men and women what is beauty and what is desirable in terms of body image, it's easy to see a direct link between showcasing anorexic models to indirectly promoting unhealthy eating habits. This law will send a message to teenagers that being  thin is acceptable, but slimness has its limits, and there is such a thing as too thin" added Addato.

According to the law, models with a body mass index (BMI) of over 18.5 will not be able to appear in advertisements. Far too often, healthy male and female models are 'photoshopped' in advertisements to appear significantly thinner. To address this issue, the bill stipulates that any advertisement which uses computer editing to make the subjects appear thinner will have to include disclaimer on the ad itself noting such editing was used.

According to Knesset Member Danny Danon, while such legislative measures are hoping to target the impossible impression of anorexic beauty that causes eating disorders, they also convey the important message to modeling agencies that "life is more important than money". 

MK Danon has been approached by members of U.S .Congress who are interested in drafting a similar law for American modeling agencies. What's being called a 'major breakthrough' is about more than just reforming an industry; it's about eradicating eating disorders and promoting a healthy and realistic body image for our next generation.

Photo by Peter Duhon

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