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Debate: Minimum weight requirements for models

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Should there be a minimum weight limit for professional models?

Background and context

Fashion models have become notorious for bad girl, diva behavior while charitable works and humanitarian ventures have catapulted others to fame. Dress size has yet to tarnish a fashion icon’s reputation–until 2006, when emaciated young actresses and fashion models began to appear in increasing numbers in the tabloid press. Their dramatically low weight sparked the “size-zero debate”— based on the theory that painfully thin modern fashion icons have a dangerous influence on admiring young women, some of whom are vulnerable to anorexia nervosa

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Argument #1

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Yes

It is said by doctors that an adult woman is at risk of a large number of health problems if her BMI (body mass index) falls below the recommended 18. These include osteoporosis and loss of the menstrual cycle.



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No

Thin models are idolised for a reason. They have the best figure to present a designer's work and that is what they are being paid to do. Putting weight restrictions in place is not allowing them to do their jobs.



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Argument #2

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Yes

Many models are under pressure from agents and designers to be thin. As a result, many develop eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. In the past, several models have died as a consequence of eating disorders and a need to be thin.




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No

Weight restrictions are ineffective. For example, BMI only takes into account weight and height but not bone density and fat percentage. In some instances it has been more effective to ask the model to provide a certificate of health from a doctor proving they are healthy



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Argument #3

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Yes

  • Many girls idolize models and feel the need to mirror their thinness. Models of a very low weight are setting bad examples to these girls and can be held responsible for the increasing number of girls with eating disorders



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No

  • The fashion industry is not to blame for eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and are not simply triggered by models and images of thin people.
  • Thin models effectively sell purses, coats, bags etc. This is unfair to the modelling industry because thinner models have the best frame to flatter clothing and they could be the most competent individuals.




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Yes

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No

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Argument #4

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Yes

It is promoting an unhealthy image for women to aspire to. We should be promoting bigger, healthier sizes so that fashion will reflect real women and not the unhealthily thin minority.




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No

We cannot campaign against models when we do not hold other role models accountable. Many rock stars take drugs and we do not stop them performing/ producing records.




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