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BBC 6 minute English-Are models too skinny

BBC 6 minute English-Are models too skinny

BBC 6 minute English-Are models too skinny


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Rob

Finn: …and I’m Finn. Hello, Rob

Rob: Hi there, Finn. I have to say you’ve got a lean and hungry look today

Finn: Oh really? I’ll take that as a compliment, shall I

Rob: Please do. Do you want a doughnut

Finn: Actually, yeah – can I have two? So what are we talking about today, Rob

Rob: We’re talking about skinny – or very thin – models and whether there should be a law banning them from working on the catwalk. And a catwalk is the long runway that models walk down at fashion shows

Finn: Well, no danger there for me there Rob – I think I like eating a little bit too much

Rob: And there’s no danger of you becoming a model anyway, Finn – because you’re not good looking enough, I’m afraid

Finn: Oh really. OK. Thank you, Rob. That’s very nice of you. I think it’s time for today’s quiz question, please

Rob: OK – well, here goes. Which country banned the use of underweight models in 2013? Was it

a) Israel

b) Canada or

c) the US

Finn: You know what? I’ve got no idea. So I’ll take a guess and say a) Israel

Rob: OK. Well, we’ll find out if that’s the right answer later on. So come on, Finn, what do you think? Are the models we see on the catwalk and in the media too skinny

Finn: Well, yeah, I think some models do look fantastic but others look painfully thin. Now, the media, by the way, refers to the different ways information is communicated to us, so, for example, through TV, radio, magazines, and often the internet and newspapers

Rob: OK. Well let’s listen to Jamie Gavin, founder and managing director of media agency inPress, talking about a new French law being discussed, preventing the use of underweight models. Can you spot a phrase that means a limit or an ending

Jamie Gavin, founder and managing director of media agency inPress

I think it’s a BMI of 18 or less, that’s hopefully going to be banned by the French Assembly today. This is what the US health organization states as being kind of clinically unhealthy. So it’s almost like a cut-off point. Yes, be thin, yes be thinner than the general population, but once it starts getting to unhealthy territory really that’s time to start banning it

Finn: And the French Assembly did pass this law a few days later. Now, did you spot the phrase for a limit or an ending? It’s cut-off point

Rob: So models that are too thin will be banned – or won’t be allowed – to work. And the cutoff point is a BMI of 18 or less

Finn: Now BMI stands for body mass index. And this is the ratio of a person’s height to their weight. Ratio means the relationship between two things, showing how big one thing is compared to another

Rob: But what happens if you’re just naturally really thin? The authorities could be accused of discrimination against skinny people – or treating some people less fairly than others

Finn: That’s right. It’s a good point. And that’s why the French authorities and those of some other countries are using BMI as a way of deciding. So, models with a BMI of 18 or less weigh too little when compared to how tall they are

Rob: And clinically unhealthy – what does that mean

Finn: It means when you need medical treatment for a condition or illness

Rob: Now anorexia is an illness where a person refuses to eat in order to lose weight. But some models these days are so skinny they do look anorexic

Finn: You’re right. Let’s hear more from Jamie Gavin talking about protecting the health of models. What phrase is used to mean the responsibility

Jamie Gavin, founder and managing director of media agency inPress

The theatrical agents and the modelling agents that have got a responsibility to look after their clients. There’s a huge amount of pressure on both the agent and on the models themselves and really the buck lies with them to make sure these people are healthy and that they’re looking after their careers as well

Rob: So the problem with the modelling industry is that the agents who employ the girls put pressure on – or strongly persuade – them to lose weight

Finn: And in this way they aren’t taking care of their clients, they are actually putting them at risk. Now, why’s that, Rob

Rob: It’s because many people in the fashion industry prefer very thin models so it’s a case of supply and demand. The agents are simply supplying the fashion industry with the type of girls they want

Finn: Right. And what does the reporter mean when he says the buck lies with the agents

Rob: When the buck lies – or stops – with someone it means it’s his or her responsibility, not someone else’s. And agents who employed underweight models can face fines of up to 75,000 euros, or even prison sentences

Finn: OK, shall we hear the answer to today’s quiz question

Rob: OK. Well, I asked you which country banned the use of underweight models in 2013? Was it

a) Israel

b) Canada or

c) the US

Finn: I said a) Israel

Rob: And you were right, Finn! Well done. Now, shall we listen to the words we learned today

Finn: We heard

skinny catwalk media cut-off point banned BMI (body mass index) ratio discrimination clinically anorexia put pressure on supply and demand the buck stops with or the buck lies with

Rob: Thank you. Well, that brings us to the end of today’s 6 Minute English. We hope you had a healthy interest in today’s programme. Please join us again soon

Finn: Doughnut

Rob: Go on then

Both: Bye

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