California is not here for extreme thinness in an industry that consistently pressures models to loose weight. Following suit of several countries, including France, that are trying to reduce the prevlance of eating disorders amongst models, they have entered a bill into legislature that would require California to develop health standards for models and consider them employees of the brands they represent.
In 2015, France banned exesive thinness in models as a way to further fight anorexia. The movement was fueled by Isabelle Caro, the former French fashion model who died from anorexia in 2010, after posing for a campaign to raise awareness about the disease. While Italy and Spain rely on voluntary codes encouraging (but not demanding) the health of models, Isreal took a stand and enacted a similar measure as France back in 2013.
The California bill has passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. However, it has to be approved by not only additional committess but also the full legislature before it can go to California’s Govenor Jerry Brown.
“The goal of the bill is not only to protect the health of the workers themselves, but also to help young people who emulate models.” ~ Assemblyman Marc Levine, Bill Author
At the hearing, activist Sara Ziff, founder of the group Model Alliance, wept as she recounted the abuse she endured as a teenage model in efforts to encourage politicians to support the bill. By requiring models to be considered employees, she feels that it would further protect them from sexual exploitation and abuse, in addition to risks that lead to eating disorders.
Meanwhile, the Association of Talent Agents considers the bill null. The President of the association, Karen Stuart claims, “This does nothing to reduce the problems that you heard about.”
Kudos to California on taking a stand for positive body image and health within the modeling industry.