Israeli law aims to make ultrathin models obsolete - New York News

Israeli law aims to make ultrathin models obsolete

Posted: Updated:
In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 photo distributed by Adi Barkan modeling agency, models stand in line for a fashion shoot in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.(AP Photo/Adi Barkan modeling agency, Heftsy Elgar) In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 photo distributed by Adi Barkan modeling agency, models stand in line for a fashion shoot in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.(AP Photo/Adi Barkan modeling agency, Heftsy Elgar)

JERUSALEM (AP) — When Margaux Stelman began modeling a few months ago, she always had her sister Simone in mind.

Simone was an ex-model who died three years ago after a long battle with anorexia, a common affliction of models trying to look thinner and thinner — and girls trying to look like them.

Now, thanks to a new Israeli law that prohibits the employment of underweight fashion models, Stelman says she feels protected from the traditional pressures of an industry notorious for encouraging extremes in thinness. The law sets weight minimums with the aim of discouraging anorexia and bulimia, eating disorders that affect mostly young women, who go on extreme diets and are unable to eat normally.

"This disease is something that's very close to me," the 21-year-old university student from Belgium said at a recent photo shoot, the country's first since the law took effect last week. "Doing the exact opposite, showing girls that (they) can be healthy and be a model anyway, it's really something I want to show."

The Israeli law, passed by parliament last year, is the first of its kind. The United States and England have guidelines, but their fashion industry is self-regulated. Other governments have taken steps to prevent "size zero" medical problems but have shied away from legislation.

Israel, like other countries, is obsessed by models. International supermodel Bar Refaeli is considered a national hero. Refaeli, an Israeli who has graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, among others, is not unnaturally thin.

The new law requires models to produce a medical report no older than three months at every shoot for the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards. The U.N. agency relies on the body mass index, calculated by factors of weight and height. WHO says a body mass index below 18.5 indicates malnutrition. According to that standard, a woman 1.72 meters tall (5-feet-8) should weigh no less than 54 kilograms (119 pounds).

Critics say the body mass index is flawed and cannot be applied equally to everyone. For example, many professional athletes fall outside the health boundaries set by the scale, because of their height or muscle mass.

Stelman is 1.7 meters tall (5-foot-7) and says she weighs around 60 kilograms (132 pounds) — but she isn't quite sure.

"I never weigh myself. I don't care. I don't even have a scale," she said. "Weight is just a number. As long as I feel good and healthy — that's all that matters."

One of the main supporters of the new legislation is Adi Barkan, one of Israel's top model agents.

In 30 years of work, he says he has seen young women become skinnier and sicker while struggling to fit the shrinking mold of what the industry considers attractive.

He said Europe's fashion has started shifting back. "They understand that something has to change," said Barkan, noting the rampant use of Photoshop, the popular picture editing computer program, to make models look even skinnier.

The Israeli law requires that any advertisement published for the Israeli market must clearly disclose whether the models' appearance was altered by digital manipulation.

Israeli designer Keren Saban said she prefers models who display her clothes to be "someone who looks like a woman."

"A woman's look is not something you need to be ashamed of, just the contrary," said Saban. "That is what an item should look like when we sell clothes to women."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

 

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Temperature drops; snow moves in

    Temperature drops; snow moves in

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:59:53 GMT
    Fox 5 photoFox 5 photo
    The mild weather made an exit in the Tristate region and snow moved in late Tuesday into Wednesday. Scattered showers, heavier rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds were expected. Reports of heavy, wet snow have come in from the Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey and New York City. The snow is not expected to accumulate for very long.
    The mild weather made an exit in the Tristate region and snow moved in late Tuesday into Wednesday. Scattered showers, heavier rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds were expected. Reports of heavy, wet snow have come in from the Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey and New York City. The snow is not expected to accumulate for very long.
  • Robert De Niro says Tribeca Film Festival is his passion

    Robert De Niro says Tribeca Film Festival is his passion

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:47:46 GMT
    Robert De Niro is a family man, a filmmaker, an entrepreneur and one of my favorite actors of all time. He's also a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, which has more to see than ever before. De Niro wears just as many hats on screen as he does in real life. The father of six starred in six films last year, owns four restaurants and a hotel, and still finds time each spring for the Tribeca Film Festival, Lower Manhattan's annual cinematic showcase.
    Robert De Niro is a family man, a filmmaker, an entrepreneur and one of my favorite actors of all time. He's also a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, which has more to see than ever before. De Niro wears just as many hats on screen as he does in real life. The father of six starred in six films last year, owns four restaurants and a hotel, and still finds time each spring for the Tribeca Film Festival, Lower Manhattan's annual cinematic showcase.
  • Obama congratulates UConn on NCAA dominance

    Obama congratulates UConn on NCAA dominance

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-04-16 01:47:07 GMT
    President Barack Obama has congratulated the University of Connecticut's men's and women's basketball teams on winning last week's NCAA tournaments. The White House says Obama commended men's head coach Kevin Ollie and his team on their decisive championship victory and noted how he enjoyed watching them throughout the tournament. He told women's head coach Geno Auriemma how impressive it was to see the team continue to dominate women's collegiate basketball.
    President Barack Obama has congratulated the University of Connecticut's men's and women's basketball teams on winning last week's NCAA tournaments. The White House says Obama commended men's head coach Kevin Ollie and his team on their decisive championship victory and noted how he enjoyed watching them throughout the tournament. He told women's head coach Geno Auriemma how impressive it was to see the team continue to dominate women's collegiate basketball.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices