January 5, 2013

"A revolution has begun against the perception of beauty in Israel..."

"...  this law shatters the anorexic ideal serving as an example for the country’s youth."
The new law, known as the “photoshop law,” requires models to present their employers with a current doctor’s note confirming that they meet a minimum body mass index (BMI) – a calculation of weight to height proportion – of 18.5, which is considered the lowest threshold for a healthy weight. Advertisements featuring models who are “photoshopped” or otherwise digitally altered to make them appear thinner must be clearly marked as manipulated images.
Here's a BMI calculator if you want to check whether you're too skinny to be a model in Israel. I've been 5'5" for more than 40 years, and I've weighed lots of different weights, including the weight of 107, which I regarded as my ideal weight (based on a chart in the Stillman diet book) when I was a college student. But based on that BMI calculator, I see I'd need to weigh at least 111 to be permitted to be a model in Israel! I know you need to be taller to be a model, but my point is that 107 wasn't anorexic for a 20-year-old.

Certainly, for modeling clothes you want a body that doesn't really call attention to itself, that works more like a clothes hanger. It's an aesthetic choice, a way to feature the clothing, the product. The Israeli law is ridiculously repressive. People need to take responsibility for their own bodies, not blame the fashion/magazine industry and certainly not use the government to cut off messages that supposedly feed their irresponsibility.

35 comments:

Paddy O said...

I'm 6 feet exactly and an 18 is about 135. My lowest weight at this height, ever, when I was in high school and very thin (with super high metabolism so I ate anything I wanted), I was about 170.

I wonder if BMI is better at some heights than others.

Pogo said...

Do they prohibit images of people with a BMI over 30?

You'd thinks being on the cusp of annihilation would keep Israeli legislators busy enough.

Pogo said...

The concept that your ideal weight was reached at age 18 is ludicrous.

Mitchell the Bat said...

"A revolution has begun against the perception of beauty in Israel..."

More like a coup d'├ętat.

campy said...

More like a coup d'├ętat.

No, a top-down coup imposed by the state.

Fail.

J.P. said...

BMI needs to go away as soon as possible. It's a terrible metric. Body fat percentage is more useful, but much harder to measure accurately.

Ann Althouse said...

"The concept that your ideal weight was reached at age 18 is ludicrous."

That's a straw man. The question is what is an acceptable weight for a fashion model, such that you don't present unhealthily thin ideals to the public. The models tend to be very young, so the issue is when do they present an unacceptable influence. I'm saying that at 20, what seemed to me to look best was a BMI below 18.5. It wasn't an aggressively thin look for me at that age.

It was, however, a lot of trouble to maintain that weight, and it was obvious that the body wanted to be something like 112 or even 117, but I felt, when I was in my 20s and even 30s that 117 looked unpleasantly over the ideal. And I was never anorexic.

These days, over 60, I'm in the "normal" BMI range, and I think it would be unhealthy to weigh as little as even 117. It's possible to be an older woman and still be a fashion model. But you have to be tall, and you probably have to have a BMI that feels low.

Christy said...

Sure, this is silly. But it looks to me as though many of our laws and regs are silly. Else why all the warning labels on products? Why does a national park need signage announcing that there could be dangerous critters about? We protect the stupidest amongst us, why cannot Israel protect the vulnerable youth under pressure to meet an unreal standard of beauty before their brains are fully formed?

Darleen said...

J.P. is right, "BMI" is a horrible metric

Ask any very athletic person, especially those that do weight training ... they may have a very low body fat percentage but be "obese" by BMI standards.

Shouting Thomas said...

We protect the stupidest amongst us, why cannot Israel protect the vulnerable youth under pressure to meet an unreal standard of beauty before their brains are fully formed?

I have my doubts that this is the problem, or that a real problem exists.

I doubt that anorexia is caused by "an unreal standard of beauty."

And, I doubt whether an "epidemic" of anorexia exists.

Manufacturing problems and then solving them is just a strategy for liberals and revolutionaries who want power.

Shouting Thomas said...

If the issue is public health, and legislative decrees can solve the problem, then why not just make obesity illegal?

With the proper penalties, of course.

edutcher said...

Remember, Israel is essentially a socialist country.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

The American Digest blog says that they used to say "if you want a revolution, you've got to do some revolting things."

Because of the Beatles, it seems anything save violence (you can count them out) is okay if it makes you feel good because you are conspicuously helping others thereby presumably conveying feelings of elevated status upon yourself in their minds.

robinintn said...

Sounds like the effect will be to send young women outside the country for their work, where they'll be substantially more vulnerable to abuse, as they'll be away from support systems, people who care about them, and familiar surroundings. But at least the government will have prevented them from being skinny. Oh, wait.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The Israeli government should discourage anorexia with an ad campaign featuring photos of starving Jews in the Nazi death camps.

What? Too soon?

Clyde said...

Having seen numerous pictures of young Israeli female soldiers posing with rifles, etc., I didn't notice any of them looking particularly anorexic. They looked fit. I think that they're trying to fix a problem that doesn't really exist.

Erika said...

I feel sad that as a mother, in your thirties, you felt that 117 pounds at 5'5" was fat. Dear heavens. I used to run daily, ate well and felt fantastic and looked great at 5'4" and 130 pounds. Frames differ, though.

Erika said...

PS this was in my late twenties after three children.

Rabel said...

"I've been 5'5" for more than 40 years, and I've weighed lots of different weights, including the weight of 107..."

As the kids say - "pictures, or it didn't happen."

EDH said...

What needs to be removed from women's magazines in the US is the Democrat Party propaganda.

Cedarford said...

BMI is ludicrous, especially in the military. Which makes BMI into a true laughingstock, along with military intelligence (as usual) - by throwing out mesomorphs fitter than 98% of the others.
Stupidity started when a few years before I was in, and continues.

If it was applied to ladies tennis, Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova would be too "fat" to be considered fit to play. And then if you add the Zionist socialists applying their stupid BMI the other way - they would throw out the skinny ones on the men's side like Federer and Djokovic.

Cedarford said...

BMI is ludicrous, especially in the military. Which makes BMI into a true laughingstock, along with military intelligence (as usual) - by throwing out mesomorphs fitter than 98% of the others.
Stupidity started when a few years before I was in, and continues.

If it was applied to ladies tennis, Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova would be too "fat" to be considered fit to play. And then if you add the Zionist socialists applying their stupid BMI the other way - they would throw out the skinny ones on the men's side like Federer and Djokovic.

Craig Landon said...

Ah, government. Iceland - Approved names list, Israel - approved BMI list, Australia - approved guns list, and so on.

When you think about it, that's all they do, really - make lists to corral their populations. Some like smaller corrals than others.

tiger said...

Ah, the ol' BMI scam.

Your 'ideal' weight is when you're 18?

That is one of the more idiotic statements to come the pike in a long time.

Plus this: The 'ideal' weight for everyone has been dropping for the past 20 years. Mine went from 170 to 155.

The ONLY way I will see 155# again is if I'm locked up in a concentration camp.

The is 'Big Non-Profit' in action.

Keep changing the numbers allows them to keep asking for more money to do more 'out-reach' to tell more people that they weight more than than they should.

It's all crap.

tiger said...

"I've been 5'5" for more than 40 years, and I've weighed lots of different weights, including the weight of 107..."

As the kids say - "pictures, or it didn't happen."


Heh.

Unknown said...

Writing from Israel: the law was the brain child of a fashion photographer, who took up the cause after a model he was working with died of anorexia. And it's been in force for several years, so I don't know why it's in the news now.

I personally know one young woman who passed the physical fitness exam for induction into the IDF, but would not have been allowed to model because her BMI was 18.2. This things don't make sense.

Ira said...

As an Israeli resident I can say how unsurprised I am by this law. Here in Israel we tend to take all the politically correct crapola and turn it into laws. It makes us "progressive" - that way, the Europeans will like us !

Ira said...

As an Israeli resident I can say how unsurprised I am by this law. Here in Israel we tend to take all the politically correct crapola and turn it into laws. It makes us "progressive" - that way, the Europeans will like us !

Nichevo said...

A delicate balance, Althouse. It would mostly depend on the balance between your tits and the rest of you. IOW you can lose weight till the tits begin to suffer from it. Or, you can gain weight until the tits stop growing, which I suppose they never will, but the rest of the body will begin to outstrip them. Of course there are quality issues as well as quantity but let's not overcomplicate.

To some degree the ass is a like bellwether, the bigger the cushion the better the pushin', but functionally an excess of buttocks will limit penetration, so it may depend on measurable indicators like the size of your partner or the depth of your cervix, colon, etc.

That's really the answer, whatever weight your partner prefers is the right weight. He may like to see your six-pack or prefer you with a pot like that girl in Pulp Fiction discussed. He may prefer to see the sinews in your ankle a little better, but balances that against the bruising he takes when you ride him. It will probably take some fine tuning.

Really, the discrepancy here is that men perceive models as proxies for sexiness, i.e., a model should be fuckable. The modern trend in high fashion couture seems to be for unfuckability, which may be because the designers tend to be gay, or possibly because the women buy the clothes.

Women want their models to be...gosh, what the hell do they want? Twenty years ago I met a pair of sisters at a Southern college. We were watching,oh, some movie, and both of them fawned over Andie Macdowell. I told them they were both so much prettier than she that it was unreal...they were pleased I doubt they believed me. But it was entirely true.

So back to your original question, professor, we would need a series of nudes of you at the relevant age, staged at 5 pound intervals, to properly judge your ideal weight. Alternatively, with the convenience of a time machine, I or another volunteer could go back and fuck you, and then we could adjust on the fly. Again, for best validity two series of (n-) daily fuckings, one over a month of you going up in weight (ice cream diet), one down (lettuce and cigs diet).

...Look, Ann, if you're not ready to do the science, why ask the questions?

Jeffrey said...

Nichevo,

That was really good. And true.

Crunchy Frog said...

Certainly, for modeling clothes you want a body that doesn't really call attention to itself, that works more like a clothes hanger. It's an aesthetic choice, a way to feature the clothing, the product.

This is stupid. Who wants a dress that only looks good on a fucking hangar? Wouldn't it make more sense to display clothing that looks good on the bodies of real women, not Olive Oyl stick figures?

wyo sis said...

I love science.

ambienisevil said...
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ambienisevil said...
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Molly said...

According the an article in New England Journal of Medicine, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1000367 :

For a woman who has never smoked, probability of dying is minimized at a BMI in the range of 21-24. For a 5 ft 5 inch woman, a weight in the range of 127-144.

But (and this is my important point) probability of dying increases as weight increases out of this range (the much discussed obesity problem) and also as weight decreases out of this range (the never discussed except in extreme eating disorders underweight problem.

A 5 ft 5 inch woman who weighs 107 (AA's self determined optimum) has the same probability of death as a 5 ft 5 inch person who weighs 193 pounds. (I used the BMI calculator here: http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/)

The 193 pound woman would be tut-tutted over as being unhealthy and needs to lose weight. THe 107 pound woman will be celebrated as looking so good.

A woman at the low end of official "normal" BMI (18.5) would have the same mortality risk as woman at the high end of the "overweight" range of BMI (30.0).

This is the real sense in which society encourages women to have an unhealthy (too slender) body image.

I suspect that many people who read this won't believe it. But follow the links and draw your own conclusions.