France Sets Up Laws to Defeat Anorexia
By Emanuala Balliu
In Times Square on a huge billboard there was a beautiful girl. You could see her indented flat stomach, her ribs sticking out, her cheekbones forming perfect, sharp angles on the sides of her face, and her knees displaying the form of her bones.
She was a beautiful girl and wore the most gorgeous clothes money could buy, I wanted to be her.
I thought from the photo that I needed to diet because 140 pounds wouldn’t get me those clothes. Rational, right?
However, I ignored the signs that showed me that the billboard girl probably had an eating disorder.
I didn’t fail to notice the little girl next to me who was also mesmerized by the girl in the billboard. She had full, rounded cheeks and a tummy that was out and a snickers bar in her chubby hand. But after she had been looking at the billboard for a while she tucked in her stomach, pulled in her cheeks, and stood up straight.
“The power of the media,” I thought. And, I wondered if she’d eat tonight before bed. I concluded that she probably wouldn’t.
That girl on the billboard affected me at 19 years old and a little girl at what I can assume was seven or eight.
What neither one of us took into consideration was how the girl on the billboard felt. What does she do to maintain that weight?
In an article published in The Guardian by a former Vogue Editor, “The truth about size zero,” a model, when asked about the scabs and scars on her knees, admitted, ”Oh yes. Because I’m always so hungry, I faint a lot.”
There are many dangerous dieting trends. Among them is the cotton ball diet. Eating up to five cotton balls dipped in juice makes your body think that it is full.
The tapeworm diet is, plainly, eating a tapeworm.
The feeding tube diet consists of a tube injected through the nose and forces the body to feed off of the fat it already has. In that short time it does not give the body enough time to undergo ketosis, a metabolic process that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy.
Other dangerous diets include the only ice diet and the air diet—which is just pretending to eat.
These are all dangerous ways to lose weight and maintain a no-fat body. They are used by models all around the world and lead to deadly diseases such as bulimia or anorexia.
The expectations set by modeling agencies and then by the media are unrealistic and they are destroying young women and men.
But in the country of fashion, France, French lawmakers were quite busy trying to find ways to prevent these damaging diseases.
They have set up minimum weights for women and girls hired as models. Modeling agencies are required to have medical certificates from their models proving that their body mass index (B.M.I) is at least 18.
During the height of her career Kate Moss, as well as legendary fashion icon Twiggy, had an estimated B.M.I of 15, while Gisele Bundchen and Naomi Campbell had ones of 17. Although it can’t be proven, this B.M.I is a vital sign of an eating disorder.
Modeling agencies that require their models to be as thin as they can pose great dangers everywhere.
The drive to find a cure was pushed forward in 2010 when an adored French model and actress, Isabelle Caro, who at one point in her career weighed 55 pounds, passed away.
Legislation stating that violators of this law would face an $83,000 fine as well as up to six months in prison, was passed.
Anorexia affects about 10 million females and one million males in the United States yearly, and in France, 30,000 to 40,000 people, most of whom are teenagers.
This is a law that should be introduced in the United States. All people, not just women, should support beating anorexia. It is a disease and it can be beaten.
We must teach each other that we do not need to shrink ourselves. This idea the media portrays of perfect bodies is false.
Our bodies belong to ourselves, and just like us they are not perfect and we must take care of them to the best of our abilities.