OP ED: Dehumanization of Models

The fashion industry has become notorious for its strict and sometimes even cruel practices when it comes to the treatment of its models. With that being said, FAST believes it’s important to acknowledge the inhumane aspects of the industry in hopes of reminding others that this type of treatment is not okay and will not go unnoticed. FAST Blogger Angela Savage reports more about this topic below.


Throughout recent years, it has become more and more apparent that the fashion industry is overrun with problems. The way that designers and modeling agencies treat their models only heightens the industry’s promotion of racism, body image issues, sexual harassment, and anti-LGBTQ ideology (Source).  According to The Fashion Spot, only 27.9% of models who walked the Fall 2017 runways were nonwhite; this year, it was 38.8%, with fashion magazines and news spreads declaring “More Racial and Age Diversity Than Ever Before!” (Source).

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Diandra Forrest, a model from the Bronx, stated that “some shows don’t even use Black girls at all. I feel like they didn’t even see Black girls at the castings. Especially when I was in Paris, I would speak to other models, and I would have 13 castings or 20 castings, and the white girl would have almost 40.” These issues don’t halt at the hiring process, nor does the industry only filter and crack down on race.

The Fashion Spot also reported that last season’s record 91 transgender or non-binary models had dropped to a dismal 56; and with the study accounting for 221 shows and 7,300 model appearances hosted all across the world, it is clear that this problem transcends geography. Additionally, the effects that this hateful propaganda has on mainstream culture impacts the models themselves. The probability of such models being hired and supported is slim due to the fact that the industry only seeks a certain look, with any hopes for change seeming slow and non-existent.

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Models.com, a database, magazine, decided to publish a submission box online for models to share their industry experiences openly (Source). They then went and published all the responses they received which consisted of many similar stories about how the industry spurred the development of various eating disorders and mental health issues within many models.

Prague-born model Petra Zatkovia admits that “Modeling psychically destroyed me,” as she experienced “hair loss and heart arrhythmia from stress.” While Australian model Fernanda Ly used the box to discuss the industry’s conditioning of adolescent models and how it normalized the traumatic experience. Additionally, the experience of having your intimate space invaded by strangers: “I was once shooting a lookbook where the stylist, helping me dress, used this chance to feel my body up much more than necessary and continued to do so throughout the entire shoot. Countless times have I had to undress in undesirable public situations, but even I can remember the disgusting feel of this man’s hands tracing my body.”

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When it comes to the fashion world’s treatment of models and the subsequent message it communicates to its audiences, the industry appears to be stuck in a disturbing cycle of dehumanizing models. As avid lovers of fashion, we at FAST recognize the importance of not just focusing on the glamorous part of the industry, but also criticizing the disillusioned aspects of fashion in hopes of sparking a positive change within these problematic areas.


 

FAST Blogger: Angela Savage

Photo #1 and #2: (Source)

Photo #3: (Source)

 

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