Spanish parliament involves the fashion industry in its drive to combat anorexia and bulimia
Taking its cue from the French “Photoshop Decree”, on May 17 the Upper House of the Spanish Parliament approved a non-legislative motion to combat eating disorders. The truth is, as the approved non-legislative motion says, we are facing a serious problem for the youngest sectors of the population, which is why it urges the government to adopt a package of measures aimed at properly combating anorexia and bulimia, disorders affecting one in ten teenagers in Spain.
The motion is very closely based on the legislation adopted in France where retouching images without identifying that it has been done could mean fines of up to €37,500. France also requires models to have a medical certificate assessing their general health. And this is not a simple declaration of intent. In actual fact, the fines agencies and catwalks face for infringing this requirement can be up to €75,000.
Following the path marked by France, the non-legislative motion approved by the Upper House, following slight amendments since its publication in 2016, urges the government to implement the following legal measures:
- Identify photographs that have been digitally retouched.
- In any advertising of beauty products and techniques, make visible the age of the model advertising them;
- Put in place the necessary measures to ensure that all advertising for beauty products, complements and techniques complies with a set of common truth, legality, honesty and fairness standards with respect to consumers and users, and that they go through a number of suitable filters before they are published in print or distributed on radio or visual media, especially on publicly owned media;
- Close any ‟pro-anorexia” or ‟pro-bulimia” websites and impose criminal penalties on anyone encouraging these types of disorders. In Italy, practices of this type may carry penalties of up to two years in prison and fines ranging between €10,000 and €100,000;
- Ban anyone with a body mass index below the scientifically accepted “healthy” level from working as a model, and levy fines on agencies that fail to comply;
- Include in the Mental Health Strategy, in conjunction with the Spanish Statistics Institute and the health authorities, annual surveys on the incidence, prevalence and progression of eating disorders in Spain; and
- Carry out institutional initiatives by the Health, Social Services and Equality Ministry, and involve the various regional health ministers in them, to raise awareness of the risks of eating disorders.
Although there have been attempts at legislating on this subject by the regional governments in Madrid and Catalonia, the plain fact is that no specific legislation exists in Spain on combating anorexia and bulimia in the media. Following the approval of this non-legislative motion, the fashion industry must be ready to respond to the possible implementation of legislation that has a direct effect on how its products are advertised in the media and on the catwalks. The time has come to rethink the values and ideals that the industry wishes to put across to its customers.
Garrigues Intellectual Property Department