If former fashion model Nikki DuBose gets her wish, models in California would be legally prohibited from being too skinny.
A new bill, AB2539, introduced Monday by Assemblyman Marc Levine, would require any model working in California to be approved by a doctor certifying they don’t suffer from an eating disorder.
Modeling agencies in the state would need to be licensed by the California Labor Commission and maintain a database of their models’ health certificates.
The bill wouldn’t require that models maintain a certain weight, but would instead insist the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board work with medical officials and the Department of Public Health to set healthy standards, Levine told the SFGate.
“This is a societal problem as unhealthy models have become role models for young people. 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.”
France, Israel, Italy, and Spain have already passed laws banning models from being too skinny. The French model law also requires magazines and advertisement to include the label “touched up” if the image has been digitally enhanced to make the model look skinnier than they really are.
The Israeli law prohibiting models from being too skinny was the first of its kind, it was coupled with a social media push designed to change people’s perception of beauty.
Former fashion model Nikki DuBose has already voiced her support for the California bill prohibiting too skinny models from working in the state, according to her website.
“This new legislation that will create healthy standards for California models and in return, set a healthier example for the nation. I am fully confident that this is just the beginning and from here we will create change for the industry in ways we can’t even imagine.”
Nikki, the model-turned-mental health care advocate, is currently writing a book detailing her years on the fashion runway and her battle with eating disorders, abuse, drug use, depression, and suicide attempts.
DuBose hopes the story of her 17-year struggle with binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia will help young women avoid the same body issues she had, reports the SFGate.
“Eating disorders run rampant in the fashion industry in great part because models do not have support, protection, and proper access to health care.”
Nikki’s struggle with eating disorders began at the age of eight when she was abused sexually and physically by two people she trusted. At age 15, she was publicly shamed by her modeling coach, who ridiculed her for being overweight. She left that school soon after and went on to have a successful worldwide modeling career until she left the industry in 2012 because of her illness.
DuBose has since recovered from her eating disorders, and is now a strong advocate for mental health; she has written many articles along with her upcoming book and visited youth on skid row.
The California bill regulating fashion models’ weight is likely to face opposition from those who view it as an overreach by the government into our personal affairs.
Opponents of laws regulating a fashion model’s weight often complain that regulation does nothing to change the public’s perception of beauty.
California has already taken steps to regulate employee health in the porn industry by requiring actors in adult videos filmed in the state to wear condoms.
What do you think? Should fashion models be regulated by their weight and body mass index?
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]