Knesset debates scrawny models

This post is gacked, word-for-word, from the blog of the excellent magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture:
Israel’s parliament is in discussions to pass a bill requiring the country’s modeling agencies to monitor the weight and body-mass index of its fashion models. The catalyst for this bit of reform is one Adi Barkan, a fashion photographer and model agent who has found himself increasingly alarmed by the pervasiveness of anorexia and drug use in the industry; Barkan’s hope is that the bill will compel agencies to confront their role in promoting thinness by any means necessary, and also ensure that only healthy models get work.
The Guardian reports,

[Barkan] admits that anorexia can have a multitude of causes but is convinced that the fashion industry can have a major effect on it. “I think 50% of the problem can be dealt with by us. If the fashion stores, food companies and other consumers of model services refuse to employ unhealthy women, that will remove one part of the motivation to reduce weight.”
After more than two decades in the fashion industry, he points to a series of factors that have exacerbated the problem. Models have become celebrities, no longer two-dimensional images but characters to inspire young girls. Second, modelling used to be an option only for very tall women but when it moved from the catwalk on to television, the industry became accessible to shorter girls. Also, image consciousness is now overtaking girls at a younger age when their bodies and minds are ill-equipped to deal with the pressures of trying to be thin. “There was a time when girls became fashion conscious at 18, then 16. Now it’s nine or 10 in Israel. Girls are going straight from childhood to womanhood without any in between phase. If girls have an eating disorder before they are 16, it is even more damaging for their health.”

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