Government urges fashion not to use ultra-thin models
14th December 2007, "Skinny models belong neither on the catwalk nor in advertising," Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said in Berlin.
14th December 2007
"Skinny models belong neither on the catwalk nor in advertising," Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said in Berlin.
Schmidt, accompanied by Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Education Minister Annette Schavan and Austrian Family Minister Andrea Kdolsky, was kicking off a campaign entitled "Life has weight-together against slimming madness."
Citing an explosion in eating disorders, particularly among girls and women, the ministers appealed for more education and research into the problem.
"Being thin should no longer be seen as chic, rather as a shock," said Alice Schwarzer, founder and publisher of the German feminist magazine Emma, which initiated the campaign.
She characterized compulsive slimming as a "mass psychosis of the West," and added that countries like Britain, Italy and Spain were well ahead of Germany in countering it.
Schavan said that if the wrong images could have an effect on the behaviour of women, then so could more natural images.
Prominent German fashion designer Jette Joop said it was a "good idea" for the sector to commit itself to self-regulation. Health certificates for models were another possibility, she said.
A recent comprehensive survey by Germany's Robert Koch Institute found that around 22 per cent of youngsters aged 11 to 17 suffer from some form of eating disorder.
In boys, the rate then falls off, while among girls it rises to 30 per cent at the age of 17. Schmidt called the numbers "shocking."
Von der Leyen said 90 per cent of those affected were girls or young women.
"Annorexia is overwhelmingly female and it is very youthful," she said.
The German family minister called for healthy eating in the home and in child care centres.
"Food is neither a reward, nor a punishment," she said, calling for websites promoting incorrect ideals on weight to be closed down by their operators. Bans should be imposed where users were in danger, Von der Leyen said.
Subject: German news, models