New Laws Forbid Skeletal Models

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skeletal models

Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

Laws demanding that models to be a certain weight for health’s sake are a growing trend across the world. With Israel having the latest law that went into effect on the first of January, Americans are starting to wonder what is in store for U.S. models.

Israel’s new law was actually approved in March of last year. It orders that all models prove that they have had a steady Body Mass Index of minimally 18.5 for three months in advance of any given photo shoot or fashion show. In simpler terms, a young lady who stands at 5’8” must not weigh anything below 119 pounds. This law also requires advertisers to specify in ads if they have modified bodies to appear thinner than they are. Among other regions to precede Israel with similar laws are Madrid and Milan.

Although these laws have good intentions, some experts believe they are not the most efficient way of promoting health and good eating habits among models. Susan Ice, an eating disorder expert, says she does not think the tactic will work. Ice is the vice president of clinical services at Renfrew Center — one of the leading organizations recognized for their treatment of eating disorders. In her role, Ice has been able to be a driving force behind working with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to facilitate guidance for models that focuses on other aspects of healthy living beyond Body Mass Index. Furthermore, the two latter companies make it their business to inform the industry and encourage healthy working environments. On the initiatives of Renfrew Center, Ice states, “I think [it]’s a much more enlightened approach, a more likely-to-succeed approach, and an empowering approach…I’ve learned that designers are really artists, and…We can’t tell anyone how to do their art….If designers want women to look like boys or if designers want women to look like 8-year-olds, you’re not going to change that.”



Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To peruse her poetry, prose, and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here.




  1. Destitute American

    January 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    A start I suppose. I am sick of looking at rickety, bags of bones. Of course, obesity does not look so good either.

    Now if they could just get rid of the rows and rows of skeletons at the Fashion Week shows…

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