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France Introduces Legislation to Combat Unrealistic Beauty Standards

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France Introduces Legislation to Combat Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Henceforth, images will need to disclose retouching, and models must be medically certified

BY ARIA DARCELLA

NEWS  -  MAY 05

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Photo: firstVIEW

In an attempt to protect both models and consumers, the French are further regulating the modeling and advertising industries. WWD reports today that the French government has passed a new law that requires all photographs of models in advertising to disclose retouching.

Additionally, all models will require medical certificates to certify that they are healthy enough to work. The benefits should be two fold: It will further reinforce to consumers not to hold themselves to unrealistic standards, while also alleviating pressure on models to be dangerously thin.

“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behavior,” said Marisol Touraine, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health. 

Of course, there are some holes in these mandates—the retouching law applies only to advertising and catalogues, not magazines or other publications, meaning that retouching will still be allowed in editorials. Also, the medical certificates are good for two years, meaning models can effectively be a healthy weight when they receive one, but then still be pressured to lose weight again once the certificate has been obtained.

The medical certificate measure will go into effect tomorrow, while photographs will be required to disclose retouching as of October 1.

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