The on going issues with photo manipulation, namely within the fashion realm is one that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.
It seems like more fuel is constantly being fed to the fire. England was the first to ban an advertisement featuring a malnourished model last year and it would seem that Israel seems to be following suit. The country gave the go-ahead to a new law on Monday, a mandate that forces all advertisements to explicity admit the usage of digital imaging in order to make a model appear slimmer. Liad Gil-Har, an assistant to one of the law’s sponsors said:
We want to break the illusion that the model we see is real.
There is also an additional clause in the legislation that will require minimum Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5, which is figure acknowledged by the World Health Organization as underweight or malnourished, for all models who wish to participate in advertisements for the Israeli market. It’s a positive testament to the country’s outlook on their very own top model, regarded as a national celebrity, Bar Refaeli. Make no mistake, she is slim but she’s also curvaceous, athletic, and ultimately healthy, lacking in the sunken-faced depravity made popular by European models of the past 5 – 7 years. Yet, Adi Barkan, one of Israel’s top model gents, affirmed that in his 30 years in the industry, he’s seen the models he’s encountered become “skinnier and sicker” as they exert themselves to fit inside the ever-shrinking castle of what is considered desirable. Adi proclaims that “they look like dead girls” – disturbing yet not at all suprising.
I do think that the standard of the law has put in place is somewhat misguided, considering BMI is hardly a good indicator of health and fitness. Critics are in agreement; David Herzog, a psychiatric professor and leading American expert on eating disorders, insists that “the health of the model should be evaluated”. Maybe give them a burger or something to eat and follow them around and see if they throw up, maybe thats a no-go situation then. ha ha. Regardless, this regulation is a step in the right direction for the industry as a whole, and I hope Israel’s efforts make an imprint on other countries as well.