Behind the glossy images of beautiful models on the pages of magazines, quick confident struts down the runway and alluring poses for billboards is an untold story. A story of endless sexual harassment and abuse, underweight models, underaged models, and horrible working conditions. In the light of recent events with the #MeToo campaign, I have questioned a lot of things about the entertainment and fashion industry.
I can’t help admiring supermodels. Everything about them, their professionalism, their height, figure and carriage gets a nod of approval each time I spot them. Plus I respect their work, it is far from being easy. Models work very long hours and have to look their best doing their work. That must incredibly hard. I sometimes have the luxury of working in my pyjamas and nerdy glasses all day if I get the chance. They never get the chance.
However, ever since the #MeToo campaign, a darker side to the fashion industry was revealed. Several models have spoken up. They have shared personal stories of sexual abuse and harassment from photographers, managers and designers. And to be honest, I was horrified.
There were also reports of incidents where the dignity of models, both male and female were disrespected leaving them utterly embarrassed. Others, especially models of African descent, shared stories of how the crew did not have makeup artists and hair stylists who were knowledgeable enough to handle their unique skin type and hair texture.
I felt the need to do my own part to put the words out there. To be advocate for a change.
Sexual Harassments and Abuse in the Fashion Industry
Lets face it. Models are beautiful but thats never a good enough reason for any one to sexually harass or abuse anybody. Sadly these models fall prey to perverted photographers, managers and designers. Whats even worse is that such models are forced to remain silent. And if there is one thing I am grateful for about thus #MeToo campaign, is that the culture of silence is dead!
These models are were usually left helpless and had to remain silent to fulfil their modelling dreams. I am happy to see this is no longer the case and more and more model are speaking up about these sexual harassment and abuse.
Runways aren’t as calm and collected as we know them to be. Behind the scenes its very fast, models have to change into the outfits very quickly and be ready to go. In photoshoots where a lot of pictures have to be taken within such a short time, speed of changing into the clothes for the shoot is important.
What people dont know is that no provision is made for models to change in private. They are often sent to change in front of other models and fashion crew. Which is far from ideal. I am happy to hear this will be changing too, with the private changing rooms being enforced.
Underage young models
The fashion industry is opening its doors to young talent ranging between the ages of 14 and 16. Usually, such models are subjected to the intense working hours. More often than not they are left exhausted, as expected.
Just like other models, these youngsters are also exposed to sexual harassment, abuse and humiliation.
Kering and LVMH recently joined forces to introduce a new charter aimed at protecting models working with their brands. These brands include Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen.
The new charter includes a call for private changing areas, and a ban on underage and underweight models. Models must be at least 16 years old to get hired, and female models must be a French size 34 (UK size 6/U.S. size 2) or above. Also, young models between 16 and 18 years old cannot work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
I am happy to see the fashion industry is finally beginning to listen to these models, with this charter, and I hope all brands follow suit. We all need to be advocates of change.
What are your thoughts on the #MeToo campaign? Please sound off in the comments section below, let’s chat.
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