Will California Pass New Model Health Legislation?

California may potentially enforce a new law which requires fashion models to be declared “healthy to work” by a qualified Doctor. This was proposed by Assemblyman Marc Levine, who stated that, "the evidence of eating disorders in the modelling industry is alarming.”

The aim of this new law would be to help prevent eating disorders amongst professional models as well as encourage healthy body image in the media. 

(Photo credit: theguardian)

If the legislation is passed, California would be following in the footsteps of France, who ruled in December 2015 that models need to have their BMI checked and have a health examination before being allowed to work. France took things a step further, saying that all photo-shopped images had to be labelled as “touched up”. So far, France and Israel are the only countries to have legal requirements for model health. Levine claims that, "as California often leads the nation and the world, this bill will help assure that our children will see healthy images on magazines and fashion websites.”

(Photo credit: learay)

Modelling agencies found to be not complying with the new law would be fined. However it is not yet clear what exact methods would be used to determine if someone is “fit to work” in California. Nevertheless, the campaign for this law is a promising effort to work towards a safer and more ethical modelling industry.

Some have been critical of the new law, accusing Levine of attempting to police the female body, calling for self-regulation as practised in Spain and Italy. Yet this lax approach to model health will eventually prove itself ineffective and many campaigners have stressed the importance of legislation. Nikki DuBose, a former model turned activist, has argued "as a former fashion model and an eating-disorder survivor, I know that this legislation is critically needed."

 (Photo credit: thenikkidubose)

Time will tell as to whether this law can be passed; however California’s reputation as a “health”-obsessed state will be truly tested in the coming months.