Skinny Law: Fashion Industry May Regulate Weight of Models

Deven Desai

Deven Desai is an associate professor of law and ethics at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology. He was also the first, and to date, only Academic Research Counsel at Google, Inc., and a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the Yale Law School. Professor Desai’s scholarship examines how business interests, new technology, and economic theories shape privacy and intellectual property law and where those arguments explain productivity or where they fail to capture society’s interest in the free flow of information and development. His work has appeared in leading law reviews and journals including the Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review.

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2 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    One can imagine unhealthy skinniness and cosmetically enhanced body parts to meet this new criteria.

    Actually, this line made me think of a particularly disturbing possibility for circumvention: body modifications.

    I don’t know if the specific regulation is more detailed than “BMI above 18”, but for the moment let’s say that’s it. Now what is BMI? It’s an individual’s mass divided by the square of her height. If we take these terms with their normal meanings and measurements, then what’s to stop an unscrupulous model (or agent) from having heavy implants — say non-ferrous metal rods along the legs — in an attempt to artificially increase weight?

    If “cosmetic enhancement” opens the door to surgical procedures, then there are all sorts of surgical tricks one could imagine that might be brought in.

  2. Frank says:

    Yes, this is a positive development. Here is an interesting perspective from Laura Fraser:

    “Most of us don’t recognize that the social forces that keep pulling us towards thinness are every bit as constraining as the corsets that kept our great-great-grandmothers from actively participating in the world. Nor do we realize that the inner corset we wear is one of the strongest and most insidious remnants of oppression against women that we still have to put up with.”

    Fraser, Losing It: America’s Obsession with Weight and the Industry that Feeds on It 282 (1997).