How Two New Laws May Help Prevent Eating Disorders in the Fashion Industry

The movement aimed at combatting unrealistic and unhealthy perceptions of beauty across media continues to gain momentum in France.

The French government passed two decrees today intended to help prevent eating disorders that may be spurred by warped advertising.

One decree, which has been in the making for years in the country, requires that all retouched photographs of models be labeled accordingly in advertising. The other decree mandates that French and certain other European models provide medical certificates in order to work in France.

Starting on Oct. 1, it will be mandatory to include the phrase “retouched photograph” when the body appearance of a model has been modified with image-processing software “to refine or thicken their silhouette,” said France’s Ministry of Health.

Effective Saturday, models will be required to provide a medical certificate — which is valid for up to two years — attesting to the “overall state of health of the person … evaluated notably in regard to their body-mass index.”

The country’s new laws are similar to ones in Italy and Spain, which have both taken steps to thwart eating disorders and unhealthy images of beauty in advertising.

In recent years, the American fashion industry has also started to embrace a more liberal approach to beauty in advertising. The body-positive movement, a feminist-led crusade encouraging a more forgiving and affirming attitude toward one’s body, has been embraced by celebrities and supermodels such as Gigi Hadid, Adele, Ashley Graham and Amy Schumer.

Access exclusive content