Sunday, January 02, 2005

Inbal Gavrieli comes up with a rare sensible suggestion

The London Times reports that Likud MK Inbal Gavrieli is trying to pass a law that would prevent models from being hired unless they have had a health check and have a BMI of 19, and force them to go through regular health updates.
Israeli officials say that 10 per cent of girls between 14 and 17 have eating disorders. Many teenage girls idolise models and believe they must diet obsessively to have any hope of a career on the catwalk.
One of Israel’s most successful fashion photographers, Adi Barkan, stumbled on the problem two years ago when he returned to Tel Aviv after a career in London and New York. He found two of his models making themselves vomit to keep their weight down. But he discovered the true scale of the problem when a television company filmed him searching for new faces.
Of the 12,000 aspiring models he auditioned, Mr Barkan and the documentary makers found that 1,644 were so anorexic they should have been admitted to hospital, with many in the 5ft 8in range typically weighing just 5st 7lb to 6st 4lb.
I've always heard anecdotal evidence that Israeli girls are particularly thin, though I have no idea how 10% of teens with eating disorders compares to other countries. I would imagine that much of the pressure to be thin, in addition to all the pressures regularly associated with the West, comes from being part of a mediterranean, physically-oriented culture, from being part of a particularly macho society, and from Israel's tendency to be extremely faddish and to take many American trends (usually negative) to their extreme. Perhaps, as well, since anorexia is not supposed to be about food at all, given the pressures of Israeli life, this is one, terrible, way for Israeli girls to gain some sense of control?

1 comment:

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