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Israel Sets the Model Standard — How Will Their New Law Affect The U.S. and East Texas [POLL]

Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images

A new law set by the Israeli government is taking dramatic strides towards a more healthy weight for its citizens. With regulations being set on what the public can see, they hope that the numbers of sufferers of eating disorders will drop. This is a landmark decision for the health of their nation, but could it come to the states? How will it affect us here in the United States and in East Texas?

Passed in March of 2012, the Israeli law against under weight models and the announcement of photograph manipulations will begin working against the spread of eating disorders. This new Israeli law went into action January 1st and will try to aide 2013 into a new era of physical and mental health for the country.

What will this law do? As explained by USA Today, the “Israeli law is trying to fight the spread of eating disorders by banning underweight models from local advertising and requiring publications to disclose when they use altered images to make women and men appear thinner.” The regulations starting this new year are to be enforced by two means.

First, “[t]he new law requires models to produce a medical report, dating back no more than three months, at every shoot that will be used on the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished byWorld Health Organization standards.” And, don’t forget about all of the photoshopped pictures. The second regulatory action is, “[a]ny advertisement published for the Israeli market must also have a clearly written notice disclosing if the model used in it was digitally altered to make her, or him, look thinner.

Though this notice on the advertisements will not be held over any ad from another country outside of Israel, it will help prevent images like the one released by Ralph Lauren. Remember that ad that got so much attention a while ago for its ridiculously photoshopped model?

These kind of images are what flood our daily lives. Children, teens, and even through adulthood, the idea of what perfection is has become slimmer and slimmer with every passing year. It will be a change to see that this year there is one country that is trying to stop this landslide into the skin and bones frame. The unrealistic body image that is taking over is having horrible affects on the world’s citizens.

Israel reported that they have “about 2 percent of all girls between 14 and 18 have severe eating disorders.” In the U.S., the numbers are a little more extreme. According to the South Carolina Mental Health department, “[i]t is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder.” That means that almost half of all Americans know someone suffering from an eating disorder. That is a scary thought.

The fear of these devastating diseases grows when you realize that only 1 out of every 10 sufferers gets help and that eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. SCMH continues by saying, “[t]he mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.” That is a terrifying reality to face.

So, will the United States government soon follow in the Israeli footsteps? Probably not. Though there are regulations on the modeling industry here in the states, the fasion industry is self governed.

Israel is not the first country to start taking this stand against the extreme skinny. USA Today explains that, “the Madrid fashion show bans women whose BMI is below 18. Milan’s fashion week bans models with a BMI below 18.5.” This is a start. The Israeli law takes these measures further, but is it right?

Should the fight be against health rather than just weight? One of Israel’s top models says, yes. Adi Neumman said she wouldn’t pass under the new rules, because her BMI was 18.3. Neumman said she ate well and exercised. When interviewed by USA Today she stated, “Force actual tests. Make girls go to a doctor. Get a system to follow girls who are found to be puking.” This is a good point, but does it really speak for everyone? What about the citizens of East Texas and Tyler?

Is that another issue with this law, the loss of freedom of speech or protection from a different kind of persecution? I spoke with two local clothing store owners. I asked them their opinion on the law and how it might affect them and their business.

Dianna Banner of The Curvy Lady said that she thought this law could do a lot of good, but might sacrifice someone else’s rights. Banner had “mixed feelings” about the idea of the United States implementing a law like Israel’s. She worries that the people placed on the other side of this argument might lose some of their rights to the freedom of their ideas. She did say that whether it be someone’s vision to have an under weight model , or not, the false advertising of the altered pictures are known not to be “real, but they make women feel bad anyway.”

Leah Hart, owner of the 8th Street Boutique, says that this law is a, “positive thing.” She said she would be “all for it” if the U.S. government decided to pass a law like this one. Hart says that the effects of the fashion media reaches all the way to her costumers and even herself. Leah Hart agreed with the motives of the Israeli government that this could be leaps and bounds of improvement of the self esteems and mental health of everyone.

so, what do you think? Now that you know about this new law, how would you feel about the U.S. passing a law like it?

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