London transport bans 'body shaming' ads: 4 countries with anti-skinny model laws

A model parades on the runway in Australia on May 15. Some countries in Europe have in the last decade implemented anti-skinny model regulations.
A model parades on the runway in Australia on May 15. Some countries in Europe have in the last decade implemented anti-skinny model regulations. PHOTO: AFP

From July, London's public transport network will forbid advertisements that are likely to cause people to have "body confidence" issues, mayor Sadiq Khan said on Monday (June 13).

An advert for Protein World slimming shakes, showing a slim woman in a bikini alongside the words "Are you beach body ready?", caused a furore when it appeared on the Underground last year.

The new rules will apply to about 12,000 ads that appear each year on the government network run by Transport for London (TfL) which includes the Underground, buses, trams and trains.

London is not the first city to impose such a ban. Other countries in Europe have similar regulations in place.



Italy's government and its fashion chiefs signed a pact in 2006 to fight unhealthy modelling by banning stick-thin women.

Models with a body mass index (BMI) - a measure of fat - of less than 18.5 would be sent home.

They must also be at least 16 years old.

Another measure was a ban on using make-up to achieve an anorexic look with dark shadows beneath the eyes.


In a bid to promote a healthier body image, three government bodies in the Spanish region of Catalonia plan to bar skinny models from appearing in fashion ads, news publication The Local Spain reported in 2015.

In 2006, Spain was the first country to ban ultra-thin models from fashion runways.

This was after Madrid fashion week disallowed models below a certain weight from walking its runway in 2005.

In 2007, the country also banned the use in shops of mannequins that were too skinny.

A model walking on the runway in this Sept 23, 2014, file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS


Israel's new law banning stick-thin models was first passed in 2012 and came into effect the following year.

The new rule banned models with a BMI of less than 18.5 from appearing in advertisements.

The law also required publications and brands to inform the public when altered images of models - making them look thinner than they really are - were used, The Wall Street Journal reported.


The French parliament amended a Bill in December 2015 aimed at banning the use of fashion models considered to be ultra-thin.

Now, models would need to be certified by a doctor that their health was in line with the industry practise.

Those who break the law could be jailed for up to six months and face a fine of €75,000 (S$114,690).

The amendment was part of a larger effort to fight eating disorders in France.

The new legislation also required a model's silhouette that had been digitally manipulated to be labelled "touched up", the BBC reported.

Sources: BBC, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Straits Times Archives, The Local Spain, Vogue UK