In 2007, France banned the controversial Nolita advertisement featuring Isabelle Caro, a French anorexic model.
On April 10th, 2008, the following article appeared on the TimesOnline website:
"Websites and designers face prosecution in new French anorexia law"
"Promoting extreme thinness will become a criminal offence punishable by a jail sentence under a government-backed law that was tabled yesterday [April 9th] in France to combat anorexia nervosa.
The world’s first use of the law to tackle eating disorders is broadly aimed at the media and fashion world, but especially at the websites and blogs of the so-called pro-ana movement. While many are support groups, others promote starvation as a “life-style choice”, with girls and young women posting their wasting images as “thinspiration” for others.
Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have come under pressure in Britain and other countries recently to ban their pro-ana entries.
Last month a website that originated in France caused an outcry for encouraging children as young as 9 to embrace plastic surgery and extreme dieting in the search for the perfect figure. The Miss Bimbo site invites users to create a virtual doll, keep it “waif thin” with diet pills and buy it breast implants and facelifts. The website attracted 1.2 million players in France.
Fines of up to €30,000 (£24,000) and a two-year prison sentence will be imposed on offenders who “provoke a person to seek excessive thinness by encouraging prolonged restriction of nourishment” to the point of risking death or damage to health. The prison term is raised to three years with a €45,000 fine if the person dies.
Some experts and fashion leaders oppose the Bill, which is expected to be passed by Parliament within months. “You do not solve this kind of problem with the law but with understanding,” Jean-Paul Gaultier, the designer, said. Didier Grumbach, head of the French Couture Federation, said it was not up to the state to legislate on beauty and aesthetic criteria.
The law, modelled on legislation for abetting suicide, was tabled by Valérie Boyer, an MP from President Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement. Roselyne Bachelot, the Health Minister, gave it the Government’s blessing at the unveiling of a code for the media, advertising and fashion industry on “promoting healthy body images” and fighting anorexia.
“The pro-ana movements which spread their messages of death on the web must be the target for special attention,” Mrs Bachelot said as she presented Mrs Boyer’s draft Bill along with the voluntary code. Up to 40,000 people suffer from anorexia in France, the great majority of them girls and young women.
The 48-year-old elder daughter of Jacques Chirac, the last President, has been incapacitated for two decades with the disease..."
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On the same day the French law was tabled, the French fashion industry signed an anti-anorexia charter:
Roselyne Bachelot signs the
"Charter on voluntary engagment over the
body image and against anorexia"
"PARIS (AFP) — The French fashion industry on Wednesday signed a charter to promote healthy body images among ultra-skinny models in magazine ads and on the catwalks of Paris, the world's fashion capital.
After more than a year of talks, officials from fashion houses, advertising firms and media outlets joined Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot to ink the voluntary charter, joining a worldwide drive to combat anorexia.
The charter outlines a series of guidelines but falls short of imposing restrictions, as is the case in Spain which has set a minimum body mass index of 18 for catwalk models.
This translates to a minimum weight of 56 kilos (123 pounds) for a height of 1.75 metres (5.74 feet).
French fashion supremos committed to a series of "positive actions" to promote healthy body images, mostly through awareness-raising and information sharing.
Signatories pledged to refrain from using "images of people, in particular youth, that could contribute to promoting a model of extreme thinness."
The measures were drafted by a working group set up in January 2007 by the health ministry to respond to recent alarm over the deaths of models and an outcry over bare-bone physiques being held up as the epitome of beauty.
In November 2006, Ana Carolina Reston in Brazil died at the age of 21, weighing in at less than 40 kilos for her tall 1.7 metre frame. Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos died of heart failure in August that same year.
Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani caused a stir last year with a series of anti-anorexia ads featuring Frenchwoman Isabelle Caro, who weighs just 32 kilogrammes (70 pounds) for a height of 1.65 metres.
The ads for the Italian clothing firm No-l-ita were launched in the middle of Milan fashion week under the slogan "No to Anorexia..."
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To view my previous posts on Isabelle Caro, please click here:
Also check out the post by mrsmenopausal at her great blog, Weighing the Facts, here: