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French Groups Promote Body Diversity

Proving the size zero debate is still very much an issue, professionals from the French Fashion Federation, the National Union of Modeling Agencies and the French Advertising Standards Authority gathered here Wednesday to sign a charter designed to...

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PARIS — Proving the size zero debate is still very much an issue, professionals from the French Fashion Federation, the National Union of Modeling Agencies and the French Advertising Standards Authority gathered here Wednesday to sign a charter designed to promote body diversity.

Compiled with the country's ministry of health, commitments outlined in the document include the aim to challenge the profusion of images — including online and in magazines — featuring women, particularly young ones, considered to be excessively underweight.

According to Didier Grumbach, president of the French Fashion Federation, the charter is intended to educate the public about body image rather than impose regulations. "We will attack anything that encourages excessive weight loss, but the idea is not to create more rules," he said, adding that regarding the fashion industry, France's laws for monitoring health are already extremely protective. "Generally speaking [the charter] is a decision to be extremely careful and fight [negative body image] in any way we can, but no more legislation," he said.

Not all of Grumbach's compatriots agree, however. A media brouhaha was sparked the same day when a French deputy from France's UMP party, Valerie Boyer, called for the introduction of a law punishing any acts geared to promote anorexia, such as pro-anorexia blogs. According to reports in the French press, Boyer proposes that those found guilty of such acts should be sentenced to two years imprisonment, as well as pay a 30,000 euro fine (about $50,000 at current exchange). The proposition will be debated on Tuesday at the National Assembly.
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