As developed countries struggle with record levels of bulimia and anorexia, one country has taken a stand against this epidemic. Last Monday, Israel banned underweight models from working in any advertisement or runway show in Israel. It is the first country to pass such legislation, preventing the glamourization of malnutrition in the country's fashion industry.
Models must produce a medical certificate no more than three months old proving that they aren't malnourished according to World Health Organization standards (meaning a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5). All advertising, including foreign content, must include an advisory warning if the model has been airbrushed or digitally altered. Fashion insiders in Israel estimate that half of Israel's three hundred models will have to gain weight in order to work again.
Girls and women around the country idolize Israeli models like Bar Refaeli. Their lives are featured on the covers of magazines and many teenagers want to be like them. While Refaeli isn't a waif, there is a growing concern of the psychological effects unrealistic images of women portrayed in media have on consumers. Models have become progressively skinnier, and it is taking its toll on women's self esteem. According to the Huffington Post, 2 percent of Israeli girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have a severe eating disorder. While this rate is comparable to other countries, the Israeli government wants to stop this number from skyrocketing.
It is about time that a country finally passes this kind of advertising legislation. Fashion seems glamourous, but looks can be deceiving. Models are often extorted by the fashion industry and continually pushed to further extremes. It is also important to protect people from false advertising. The pressure on women to have "perfect" bodies in our society is enormous, and it is creating a monster that we have no control over. No one is perfect; in fact, our imperfections make us perfect and unique on this planet. So rejoice in your charming teeth or voluptuous thighs because you are beautiful.