Israel has taken a firm and positive step towards rectifying the skin-and-bones female body image that is prominent in the fashion and media world. The newly legislated Photoshop Law will not only protect models from the extreme ideals of skinniness but also help encourage healthy eating habits and a positive body image among women and girls in Israel.
In Israel and in the western world, women are conditioned to believe that being skinny is the ideal female form, and that beauty, success and even romance can only be attained if one fits this ideal. The media unrestrained by any such Photoshop Law serves to reinforce this distorted image, by depicting only skinny and digitally altered women in advertisements, television and film. This image is only exaggerated in the fashion world, where fashion models are governed by impossibly skinny industry standards. Unlike most male models that generally need to fit the healthy ideal of tall and muscular to fit mens designer clothing, female models undergo extreme eating habits and exercise routines for the runway. The Photoshop Law hopes to eradicate unrealistic expectations by the industry and remove the pressure for models to conform.
The Photoshop Law has two main facets. The first bans underweight models from working in the modelling and fashion industries, determined by body mass index (BMI) that calculates weight to height ratio. To be eligible to work, models must have an index of 18.5. It’s expected that over half of the models in Israel will have to put on weight before they can work again, whether they are modelling swimsuits or designer formal dresses. The second facet of the Photoshop Law requires agencies to disclose whether they have digitally altered female print images to make models appear skinnier. It’s hoped that Israel’s Photoshop Law will send ripples throughout the global fashion world and encourage a global standard for a healthy female body image.