The government endorsed a bill Sunday aimed at preventing underweight models from being featured in advertisements. The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs voted in favor of a bill proposed by Kadima and Likud Knesset members.
According to the bill, commercial groups will be prohibited from displaying underweight models, and model agents will be banned from employing or representing such models. This also includes a ban on shooting underweight models, who will not be allowed to serve as label spokespersons.
A fine of NIS 75,000 (roughly $19,500) will be imposed on whomever breaks the law, which could go up to NIS 220,000 (approximately $57,000) if a campaign featuring underweight models is launched in the media.
The bill requires models provide a medical permit indicating their body mass index (BMI) is normal.
The initial proposal also sought a ban on computer programs which re-touch models' figures, however the bill approved by the government does not contain such a clause. Advertisers will be required to add a note whenever such programs have been used.
Media influence on eating disorders
"The prevalence of eating disorders, including anorexia, has been on the rise in recent years in the Israeli society, particularly among young girls. Studies show that one of the reasons for eating disorders among teenage girls is the influence of the media and the advertising industry, which feature particularly thin women as role models, thus influencing teenagers' standards," the bill stated.
"The fashion and advertising industries, in particular, have created a distorted image of an ideal woman using many underweight models. The purpose of this bill is to reduce the extent of teenage eating disorders," the bill noted.
The bill, which was proposed by MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima) and MK Danny Danon (Likud), is based on adequate body weight definitions according to height, which are globally recognized.
"An eating disorder is not just a mental disorder but poses an actual threat to the patient's life. This bill aims to protect Israeli teenagers' health through content limitations in the modeling and advertising industries."