Thirty Million Americans Are Or Have Battled Eating Disorders. A New Law In France May End Up Helping Change That.

France has already banned ultra-thin models from the fashion shows.  Now a new law enacted will force the labeling of photos that have been edited to make a model look thinner or larger.

It has been reported that there are over 600,000 young French citizens suffering from eating disorders.

“It is necessary to act on body image in society to avoid the promotion of inaccessible beauty ideals and prevent anorexia among young people…” Marisol Touraine, France’s former health minister

The law went into effect on Sunday, and commercial photographs are the targets.

As of Sunday, a new French law mandates that any commercial photo in which the “body of the model has been modified … to either slim or flesh out her figure” must bear a “photographie retouchée” (“retouched photograph”) label, reports France 24.

Anyone breaking the new law can be fined $44,000 or 30% of the money it cost to produce the photo.

This isn’t the first time France took a stance against eating disorders. Back in 2015, they banned extremely skinny models from the runway. Requiring a doctor’s note stating the model was at a healthy weight.

But today’s move is uncommon for commercial stock photos.

Also as of Sunday, Getty Images, the widely used American stock photo agency, is no longer accepting creative content “depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger,” spokeswoman Anne Flanagan told NPR in an email.

However, Flanagan says the new labeling law is an important step in fighting eating disorders.

“Our perceptions of what is possible are often shaped by what we see,” she said. “Positive imagery can have direct impact on fighting stereotypes, creating tolerance, and empowering communities to feel represented in society.”

Unrealistic images we see have been linked to eating disorders for some time now.

…numerous “studies have linked exposure to the thin ideal in mass media to body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and disordered eating among women.” National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA

It has been estimated that over 70% of girls between the ages of 10 and 18 are influenced by the images they see in magazines.


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