Modeling needs nuanced regulation

Following a string of bad press, two of the largest French fashion companies, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Kering, have chartered new standards for their models. The two companies have banned models who are a U.S. waist size of women’s zero or two or men’s 34 from appearing in any of their shoots or runway walks. The companies will also no longer allow models under the age of 16 to model adult clothing.

Preventing models under age 16 from modelling adult clothing is a logical move, specifically if this adult clothing is provocative. There have been too many cases of children and teens appearing in clothes that are hardly age appropriate in the advertising world. While everyone is entitled to wear whatever they may choose, publicizing images of children wearing suggestive clothing seems to be more of a variation upon child pornography than an expression of personality. Furthermore, having children who have not yet hit puberty model adult clothing creates unrealistic body expectations, as pre-pubescent bodies are very different from fully mature ones. LVMH and Kering’s steps toward fixing this problem are definitely steps in the right direction.

The same cannot be said for their sizing rules. Encouraging people above size zero or two to model and display their bodies is beautiful and positive. However, banning women underneath these sizes from participating in the fashion world perpetuates the idea that a healthy person cannot be a skinny person.

Recently, France created a law that all models must have notes from doctors stating that they are healthy to work. Enforcing this law would encourage people of all body types to participate. Large companies have a lot of influence on society; they should be using this influence to encourage and celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes, not to feed into the idea that all people size zero and two are unhealthy.