Last month a socialist MP from France, Olivier Veran called for a ban on skinny models in order to prevent the glorification of anorexia. Although this proposal has been dropped on the grounds that it would violate France’s employment laws, the country has announced that a new amendment has just been passed which will see anyone running pro-anorexia websites or promoting extreme thinness online face prison time or a hefty fine.
The new measure will allow authorities to punish anyone ‘provoking people to excessive thinness by encouraging prolonged dietary restrictions that could expose them to a danger of death or directly impair the health.” Anyone caught doing so could be jailed for up to 12 months and fined a maximum of £7,333.
The announcement has received mixed opinions. Two of the members who pushed for the changed amendment have said that such websites cause people to become trapped in a vicious circle of anorexia which is something the authorities will now be able to tackle. A British charity has claimed that criminalising those behind such websites is unhelpful however because these people are often suffering with an eating disorder themselves.
The charity has said that they would oppose similar measures being introduced in the UK:
“What we want to do is to try and encourage people to go to pro-recovery sites - although we do acknowledge that people who visit pro-recovery sites often visit pro-anorexia website because they fee they are understood there and that there is a sense of community.
In a perfect world we would love Internet providers to remove any inappropriate comments in the same way they do with suicide, racism and homophobia. But we realise that it’s not altogether possible because as soon as you close one site down, another will open up. It’s an ongoing problem and what we want is for people not to be influenced by them and to look at pro-recovery sites instead.”
If you are worried that you or someone you know could have an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment Page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available. You can also contact us today to learn about getting help or visit our knowledge centre to learn more about eating disorders.