April 15, 2008

France Not Promoting Extreme Thinness

France might make it illegal to promote extreme thinness. The French parliament’s lower house adopted a bill that would make it illegal for anything and anyone, including fashion magazines, advertisers, and Web sites, to promote extreme thinness. Judges would be given the power to imprison and fine offenders of the crime up to $47,000 if they are found guilty of “inciting others to deprive themselves of food to an excessive degree.” Judges can also sanction the people or places responsible for a magazine photo of a model whose extreme thinness alters another person’s health.

The National Assembly approved the bill in a series of votes after the legislation won support from the ruling conservative UMP party. The bill is going to the Senate very soon. Last week, French lawmakers and fashion industry members signed a nonbinding charter on promoting healthier body images.

Leaders in the French couture are against having legal boundaries on beauty standards but some people also feel that encouraging anorexia or severe weight loss should be punishable in court. Doctors and psychologists that are treating people with anorexia nervosa are in support of the government being involved in the fight against the disease.

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