France, the world leader in fashion, recently decided to become the leader in the fight against the “dark side” of the industry. The harmful and sometimes destructive influence of the fashion pictures pushes about 1.5% of the 15-24-year-old crowd towards anorexia or other serious eating disorders. As these disorders have become the second leading cause of death among young french people under 25 years old, the French Culture and Communication ministry decided to act.
Since October 1st, 2017 “Model pictures with commercial use, of which the physical appearance has been modified or tweaked (to make it thinner or thicker) the body shape of the model with an image processing software” will have to display the mention “Photo retouchée” (“Modified picture”). In a case of non-compliance, the offender would be subject of fines of $44,000 (375 euros), which proves that the government takes this case seriously.
The objective of the law is to change the mentality about the “perfect woman” in society and to release the pressure which is leading to excessive dieting. The idea has already been pushed by the industry leader LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Celine, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo, Fendi, and more) who decided to ban super skinny models from its ads and shows.
This makes us think of the international cliché saying, “French women don’t get fat”. The opposite has been scientifically proven with 5 French out of 10 are overweight or obese. With that said, it is true that diets are something cultural, with a lot of French women on a lifelong diet. It could be explained, socially speaking, by the fact that being in good shape increases the chance of social and professional success for a French woman, improving the chance of both landing a better job and a better salary.
While we wait to see the results of this new legislation, let us know what you think about the French government decision.