Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North and Chair of the APPG on Body Image, has launched a Parliamentary Inquiry into the pressures facing models to slim ‘down to the bone’ and how this can affect the mental health of others.
Taking evidence from industry professionals, models, health experts and academics the inquiry has been set up to ascertain whether government legislation could be necessary to ensure models are not forced to become ‘unhealthily thin’.
Earlier this year Caroline worked with model Rosie Nelson to create a Change.org petition after Rosie was told by her agency to slim ‘down to the bone’. Rosie, who is a size 8, had already lost a stone having been told to lose weight by the agency just four months earlier, before being told to lose more. The petition has now reached nearly 100,000 signatures which has demonstrated the broad support from the public toward action being taken.
“Sadly, Rosie’s is a story which is repeated throughout the industry. I have heard from a number of models – and parents of models – who have similar stories and we have to ask questions about how this affects both models and the public at large.
We know there has been an increase in people being diagnosed with eating disorders and I am keen to discover if there is a correlation between what young people are seeing on the catwalk, in advertising and magazines and how that body image is affecting their mental health.”
The inquiry, which is open to the public and has already gained worldwide media coverage, will take place on Tuesday 1st December from 14:00 in Parliament and a report will be published early in the new year.
Other countries such as France and Italy have already legislated in this area, with France creating a minimum BMI for models and Italy demanding health certificates.
“I do not believe BMI is a good way of measuring health, nor do I think health certificates are the perfect way forward. I am not going into this inquiry with a predetermined idea of what I would like to see, I genuinely want to hear from the experts and put together a proposal based on that information.
The fashion industry has a very important part to play in this process, without their support this simply cannot work. However, after years of supposed self-regulation, models are returning with harrowing stories and it is clear something must change.”
For more information, or if you would like to report from the inquiry, contact Ryan Sutton on:
Phone: 01794 521155