The Rubens Regulation: Knesset Tells Skinny Models To Eat Or Starve

The Israeli Knesset became the latest legislative body to ban skinny models. The new law prohibits both Israeli and foreign ads with “underweight” models and requires disclosure of when pictures have been manipulated to make the model look thinner.

I have been a critic of these laws. I have significant reservations about both the constitutionality (in the US) and practicality (anywhere) of such laws. Such restrictions on the right of models and photographers limits free expression and artistic freedom in my view. Even when viewed as merely commercial speech, there remain legitimate speech concerns.

I understand that five percent of young Israelis have been found to have eating disorders. However, the best way to address this problem is not to limit the freedom of others but to educate young people, particularly young girls. Dr. Rachel Adatto, a legislator and doctor, says that with the law, such skinny models “can no longer serve as role models for innocent youths who adopt and copy the illusion of thinness.” That seems hopeful thinking unless they are going to force stars, celebrities, and others to eat. Notably, magazine covers and other images are likely to continue to advance the “never too thin” view of beauty. We are unlikely to embrace Rubenesque values by act of legislation. The perception of beauty as thin is the result of a host of cultural norms.

The law defines underweight with the use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) standard, a ratio of weight compared to height. Anyone with a ratio under 18.5 is considered underweight and thus barred under the law as a model. The message is “eat or starve” as a model in Israel.

I view such laws as a matter of personal freedom for photographers, models, and media. For that reason, I sympathize with the motives but have to disagree with the means.

Source: Times of Israel as first seen on Reddit.

36 thoughts on “The Rubens Regulation: Knesset Tells Skinny Models To Eat Or Starve”

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  3. Prof. JT,

    Are you perhaps, half in irony, a shill for American industries disdain for other nations’ markets, counting on their position as “American” to get by with using whatever methods or means which suits them to achieve their purposes??? That is one example of the results of corp=corp, ie corporation=person.

    As for defense of freedom of speech, our government’s race to 1984 in 2000 technological costume, and it’s cowing of free speech is of greater concern to me. You have certainly addressed this many times, am sure.

    But Mabel’s objections seems reasonable to me.

    OT but still free speech.
    The feeble response to the new extension to an old law, to wit: being armed with as little as a picket sign on a stick giving 10 years felony imprisonment when the SS or events of national importance are taking place, was disappointing.
    (Did you read the whole of that unwieldiy sentence—-if it was that?) Some did comment, but far too few. Of course it’s not a race or a sex or ………whatever hot button issue. We perhaps did not really understand to what evils it loans itself to.

    Just a little fantasy, shows that all that would be required legally would be a few SS agents in a “virtual” perimeter at points on America’s borders, which would put us all in danger , if we should decide to make a protest.

  4. What Blouise said:
    “And perhaps … perhaps, this latest War on Women is indeed driven by the “ownership-of-female-bodies” fantasies of porn addicted men.”

    It may well indeed. Their porn fantasies mating with Jesus (an alterego) in their religious delusional worldview. Is possession of Mary Magdalena and making her pure, but still horny, only in his embrace, their ultimate wet dream?

    Clad my terms in brain terminology please, Impress me as usual, with a space flight.

    I just woke up from a nap, with such a space flight dream. Inspired by a netpapers promise that it was only 2 years away for us billionaires (almost wrote bullionaires—–which has 2 interpretations in my current mind.).

    Such are the dribblings of a half-awakened mind. Smile.

  5. SwM

    ODD Obsessively Dominant Denialists? Orbital Dreading Dames?
    Obscure Dumb Drips? Oh, Double Damn?

    Nope, haven’t. My breath is bated. Clue me.

  6. I respectfully disagree with you, Mr. Turley. In the USA we have myriad laws regulating our personal safety. Seat belt laws come to mind. According to your reasoning, I should be able to drive without a seatbelt; after all, the only risk is to myself, yes? Should I extend this right to not seat-belting my young children? Of course not. Moreover, many professions are highly regulated, such as the medical professions or airline pilots, neither of which we would want to work while intoxicated. So, because anorexia is the most deadly of the psychological disorders (up to 10 percent of those with the disorder die from it according to NIMH), why shouldn’t the government regulate this aspect of the modeling profession? Especially when the impetus to diet to emaciation is often required by the modeling agency. What right does the modeling agency have to require models to risk their lives? And if the models or modeling agencies do not like the regulations, they have the freedom to pursue other careers.

  7. does this mean the christian children’s fund is going to have to find some chunkier kids for their commercials?

    wasn’t anon the one bragging about two prostitutes in a vegas hotel room a little while back.

  8. And perhaps … perhaps, this latest War on Women is indeed driven by the “ownership-of-female-bodies” fantasies of porn addicted men.

  9. Woosty,

    There are more up to date studies out there concerning the internet and porn but generally speaking, men constitute 86% of the cyber-pornography users which makes your questions very relevant to today’s society.

  10. We discussed it on the ” Professor Defends” thread first, Woosty. Then Blouise moved over here and landed a knockout followed up by lk.

  11. wow, thanks for the back-up! and hahahahahahha! Lottakatz! that was excellent 🙂

    One of the reasons I could never be a lawyer is that I didn’t even recognize the low-blow till you pointed it out to me. I’m just not attuned to the ‘contest’…. Blouise that report is interesting, I haven’t finished it yet but I would have to wonder did the internet actually impact the number of sexually aggressive crimes or did it simply change the point of commission? [for instance…are there more non-consensual porn videos being made to profitize on a larger more aggressively sexualized audience?, more ‘disempowered’ males actualizing thier needs via pornography vs. engaging in appropriate sexual social behaviors, etc…..]

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