New Israeli bill seeks to widen ad ban to all underweight models

A bill seeking to ban the use of underweight models in Israeli advertising also aims to prevent Israel’s media from using ads produced overseas with too-thin models.

The bill is an effort to discourage an idealization of overly thin bodies, out of concern that such advertising encourages eating disorders and distorts perceptions – particularly among young people – of what a health body should look like.

The expansion of the bill to include foreign models is expected to be introduced on Monday at a session of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. The bill will then advance, apparently next week, to the final two phases in the approval process, when it will be put to a vote on second and third reading by the full Knesset. Although the bill, which is sponsored by Rachel Adatto (Kadima ) and Danny Danon (Likud ), will apply to Israeli media that use images of foreign models, it will not apply to the foreign magazines distributed in Israel, a source involved in the drafting of the bill said.


Model Behavior

My cousin Barry, who is 27 and looks like a scale model of Michelangelo’s "David," is dating a 21-year-old Skechers model. Skechers is a line of shoes and clothing that I have never worn and generally think look ridiculous. You can’t swing a cat on Melrose Avenue without hitting someone in Skechers. If you’re wearing Skechers, I’m too old for you.

My cousin is going broke dating this girl, whose name is either Heidi or Heather. (I am under the mistaken impression that all natural blondes are named either Heidi or Heather.) By the looks of things, he will go broke next Thursday; around 3:30 p.m. he will officially be penniless. She requires a lot of attention in the form of champagne, loud restaurants, clothes and little gifts, and she has lots of incredible looking model girlfriends who seem to be hungry whenever he’s buying dinner. Barry is hanging on by his fingernails for the ride, but he’s wearing his best suit. For his part, he just wants to breathe her air a little while longer and I can’t blame him. I’d do the same thing. Hell, I’ve done the same thing. I dated a soap-opera actress back in New York. Actresses are just like models, only less so.

Models aren’t like other people. They’re not like you and me, Mac. They’re much, much more fabulous. But the quality that makes them so unusually photogenic can be a little odd-looking in person. They’re too tall. Their eyes are set too wide apart. Their lips are too big and pouty. In a word, they’re too too. This young lady has the unlikely, unbeatable combination of being both tall and waifish. She stands nearly 6 feet and weighs in at around 115 lbs., dripping wet, most of it hair. Frankly, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Barry says he wouldn’t put up with all of her demanding attitude crap if she wasn’t so thoroughly wonderful to behold. She smokes, and he doesn’t care. He eats it up. He practically leaps at the opportunity to light her cigarettes. He’s walking on hot coals and doesn’t feel a thing. I understand. I stopped seeing a woman just because she was a vegan. (Vegans do not eat anything associated with animals. They claim to be healthy, but usually look as if they could benefit enormously by a trip to Lawry’s.) If the same woman had been a model, I would have given her the benefit of the doubt. I would have endured countless meals at Indian restaurants. I would have built a salad bar in my kitchen for her if she was a model. But she wasn’t and she had to go.

I am trying to be very supportive of my cousin in this endeavor. Maybe it wasn’t terribly romantic, but I told him that he’d better enjoy it while it lasts. He asked me how I knew this relationship wouldn’t work. I told him to wait for another three weeks and ask me again. I’ve seen her act. It’s the way of the world. It’s human nature. This gorgeous giant WASP waif is going to squeeze my Jewish frat-boy investment-banker cousin dry, then find herself a down-and-out guitar player with some interesting facial hair, a tattoo and a closet full of Skechers. The karmic order of the universe will once again be in harmony.

My other cousin, Doug, said his New Year’s resolution was to date a "10." A noble, eloquent and ambitious sentiment. In the end it was also unattainable. He didn’t have the stomach for it. While he was working on this project, he met a nice, slender, Jewish "8" from a good family and called it a day. I think he’s ahead on points.

Meanwhile, Barry got dumped, as I knew he would. I am there for him, trying to help him while he is drowning in a pool of his own tears now that she’s left him, broke and broken-hearted. I remind him that he had a good run, that he’s got to get back in the game, that he’s got to try to live and love again. "Losing a model is just like falling off a horse," I said. "You’ve got to pick yourself up and seduce another horse."

Fortunately, he took my advice when I told him to get an 8 x 10 photograph signed "To Barry, All My Love, Heather (or Heidi)" with a lipstick kiss, because when it’s all over he’ll want tangible evidence for posterity, something to hold onto in his newfound poverty, something he can flaunt in the face of his friends. I told him that if anyone ever asks him how much a head shot costs, he can honestly answer: "About five grand."