France is expected to pass legislation to outlaw ultra-skinny fashion models, reports the CBC. The legislation now being debated would set up minimum weights based on body-mass index, a formula that would require a woman 5-foot-7 to weigh 120 pounds. And the measure wouldn't just bar such models from runways, it would make it a criminal offense for fashion houses and agents to use them in ad campaigns or in any professional capacity. Those in violation would face six months in prison and fines of up to $79,000.
“This is an important message to young women, young women who see these models as an aesthetic ideal,” says the French health minister, Marisol Touraine, as quoted at France24. The lawmaker who wrote the legislation is a doctor who estimates that up to 40,000 people in France have anorexia, most of them teens. Israel, Italy, and Spain already have similar laws on the books, but the New York Times notes that France's legislation would likely be far more influential. "It would almost certainly raise the debate to a new level, especially in Paris, the spiritual capital of the fashion world," writes Alissa Rubin. (Read more France stories.)