For the majority of women around the world, Israel's ban on super-skinny models seems like an ideal step forward in the way women's beauty is measured. For many, however, it is a sign that women's beauty really can be reduced to just numbers.
Last March the law was approved which means that no model can have a BMI of less than 18.5, meaning that woman who is 5'8'' can weigh no less than 119 pounds (53kg). "This law is another step in the war against eating disorders," said Dr Rachel Adatto, adding that very skinny and underweight models "can no longer serve as role models for innocent young people who adopt and copy the illusion of thinness."
As Yahoo reports, though, the ban certainly has its critics and an eating disorder expert, Susan Ice, has expressed her concern, arguing that it wont work. She has worked with he Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to help promote healthier ideas about the body and diet, to create a healthier working environment.
"I've learned that designers are really artists," she says. "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."
The thoughts of both Ice and Adatto have been reinforced in a variety of ways, but Israel's ban is an active step forward into changing the ideas about health and beauty. The world's biggest fashion and beauty magazine, Vogue put restrictions in place last year that deigned limits on age and weight to help promote positive relationships with a woman and her body. France, Italy and Spain have all also tried to impose rules on the weight and figure of models, but with little effect.
While it is very important to let consumers of the media, for which these models are a part, know that a skinny body isn't necessarily a beautiful body, by ascribing limits and numbers onto what can be used further inscribes the importance of a woman's body onto her worth- i.e. you must fall within these numbers to make this amount to be employed and make X amount of money.
Ice's idea about education is the one that will take the longest to implement, the longest to take effect and will probably be the most expensive in the long run, but nothing worth doing or having is done easily over night, and while Israel's move is by no means a negative one, it certainly isn't a fix.