Wednesday, April 9, 2008

France's new anorexic law

I just read this from the UK's Times Online about France's new anorexia law directed at fashion and media. This new law is targeted mostly at pro-ana websites. These websites consider anorexia as a lifestyle rather than a disease. Thinspiration and tips are often found on these sites.

There's been a lot of controversy over them in the last several years. There are many people who have wanted them shut down for years. However, as one gets shut down, another just pops up. Recently, social networking groups like myspace and facebook have been given criticism for allowing these groups. And youtube has had its own share of criticism with a number of "thinspiration" videos.

This new government-backed law in France is the first of its kind. It essentially holds the websites and/or blogs accountable if they "provoke a person to seek excessive thinness by encouraging prolonged restriction of nourishment to the point of risking of death or damage to health. " In this circumstance, the fine can be up to 30,000 euros or about $47,000 and a 2-year prison sentence. If the person person dies, imprisonment can be up to 3 years and a fine up to 45,000 pounds or about $71,000.

This is stiff sentencing and doesn't sound like one to be fooled around with. However, I think the hardest question to answer is how do you prove whomever is the webmaster or webmistress behind these websites? Then there is the accountability factor. Any person who is visiting these type of websites or social networking groups has a choice. Aren't we all responsible for our health, body, and actions?


Anonymous said...

people might say that its an individual's choice. But honestly, that can be said about illegal drugs and under age drinking. Some people are simply incapable of making wise decisions and if a law helps guide some people away from this - I say some because laws don't stop everyone - then personally I think its a good idea to have such a law in place.

Tiptoe said...

Anon, thanks for your comment. My one really big fear however with s tiff penalties is that the majority of the time, these are young girls/women behind the pro-ana sites. In the end, would monetary penalties be helping them?