Thursday, April 17, 2008

Glamorizing the Ultra-Thin

In yesterday's edition of The Kansas City Star, I read an interesting story about the fashion industry. A bill adopted by the French Parliament's lower house Tuesday makes it a crime in France to glamorize the ultra-thin. It will attack Web sites that tell anorexics how to starve and could also target the fashion industry. The crack down would include fines of up to $71,000 and three-year prison sentences for offenders who encourage "extreme thinness." In the next few weks this bill will go to the Senate.

This bill follows the 2006 anorexia-linked death of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, which prompted efforts throughout the fashion industry to address the health problems of ultra-thin models.

French lawmakers and fashion industry members signed a nonbinding charter last week on promoting healthier body images. In 2007, Spain banned from catwalks models whose body mass-to-height ratio is below 18.

But French lawmaker, Valery Boyer, didn't believe this was enough, so she authored the bill. Boyer wished to encourage discussion about women's health and body image. Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said Web sites that encourage young girls to starve should not be protected by freedom of expression.

Pro-anorexia Web sites and blogs surface all over the world, and they are often hosted by very young people sharing stories of body deprivation. The sites claim to provide emotional support for people striving to be super-thin by starving themselves.

Boyer asserted that the bill was not made to punish anorexics or models, but rather to discourage the promotion of dangerous weight-loss by the Web sites and the fashion industry.

Modeling agencies had mixed feelings about this bill. Some see it as only a problem for the pro-anorexia Web sites, and believe that the fashion industry is safe from this legislation. Others are supporting the bill full-heartedly.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America adopted guidelines last year asking its models not to practice unhealthy weight control.

In light of this body image issue, I wanted to point out that Lingerie Diva supports a positive body image. You can find many flattering options for plus-sized lingerie. Being thin doesn't make you beautiful. To be beautiful, you must radiate it from the inside out. Lingerie Diva has a variety of lingerie and apparel that will fit any shape and size.

It is sad that young girls are bombarded every day with thousands of images promoting the waif-like body. I am happy to see the French and American government stepping up to aleviate this illness.