Australia to ban super-skinny models

Tuesday 29 June 2010 00:00

In a world first, Australia's government has unveiled a new strategy to reward fashion professionals that don't hire models that are too thin.

According to the country's Telegraph, Youth Minister Kate Ellis has developed a 'tick of approval' that she is planning to award to magazines, modeling agencies, and designer labels that follow these guidelines:

  • "Disclose when images have been retouched and refrain from enhancing photographs in a way that changes a person's body shape, for example, lengthening their legs or trimming their waist, or removing freckles, lines and other distinguishing marks."
  • "Only use models aged 16 or older to model adult clothes, both on catwalks and in print."
  • "Refrain from using models who are very thin, or male models who are excessively muscular."
  • "Stocking clothing in a wide variety of sizes in shops to reflect the demand from customers."
  • "Using a broad range of body shapes, sizes and ethnicities in editorial and advertising."
  • "Not promoting rapid weight loss, cosmetic surgery, excessive exercising or any advertisements or editorial content that may promote a negative body image."

"Body image is an issue that we must take seriously because it is affecting the health and happiness of substantial sections of our community," Ellis said, adding that "the symbol is a win for consumers. It will empower consumers to tell the fashion, beauty, media and modelling industries what they want and provide greater choice."

The Telegraph also reported that the plan was currently being reviewed by an expert panel, but that it already had the endorsement of the country's leading girls' and women's magazines, such as Girlfriend and Australian Women's Weekly.

There have been similar moves in the past, for instance by the British Fashion Council which published BMI (body mass index) guidelines before, but so far, none of them seems to have brought about 'real' change. It is the first time that the issue has been addressed so exhaustively by a government.

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