Recently, as I was scrolling through news articles on my cell phone, I came across an article that caught my eye. The article was on the scouting of new talent by model agencies at the one place that they should NEVER be looking for talent: an eating disorder treatment clinic.
As someone who is in recovery from a vicious eating disorder, one that almost took my life on multiple occasions, I was horrified and disgusted just by the title alone, not to mention the thought that someone could and would sink so low (?!).
That horror turned to anger as I read the article, and the carelessness and thoughtlessness on the part of the modeling agencies became clear.
The model agencies were recruiting girls at the clinic so sick that they are wheelchair-bound, sending them the message that being unhealthy is not only okay, but it is “beautiful.”
I mean, come on now, really? How is it even possible to logically believe that recruiting severely sick girls and women from an eating disorder program is an ethically and morally viable idea?
How could they believe that using these sick girls as models would send a productive and positive message to females? How in their thought process did they not realize that what they were doing was WRONG?
Now, I don’t claim to know or understand how things operate in the model world (although I will admit to watching an episode or two of America’s Next Top Model), nor do I claim to know how the modeling world has come to be as it is today. However, given my own eating disorder experience and the fact that I have a VERY strong moral and ethical compass, I can say that this is just wrong in every possible way.
Not only are these model agencies sending girls and women with eating disorders unhealthy messages, but by using models that are unhealthy in advertisements and other media they are sending the message to females at large that the only way to be beautiful is to be unhealthy—in NO way is this true. As Katy Waldman notes in her critique here, “They wouldn’t know beauty if it bit them on the arsel.” Amen to that!
You can probably tell that I am not a fan of model agencies—I think that they warp reality and send unhealthy messages out to girls and women—but they are not going away anytime soon.
Given this, females around the globe need to stand up to these modeling agencies. The message has to be conveyed to the modeling world that under no condition will scouting at eating disorder clinics be tolerated, nor will the use of sick girls in advertising and media.
Leave these girls and women alone to heal and recover in peace. Stop sending unhealthy messages to females about what is beautiful.
Check out the news article on this story and tell me what you think. Is the fact that this is occurring as disturbing to you as it is to me? Any ideas on what can be done about it? How about trying some of these ideas from About-Face?
Katelin Jordan is a recent university graduate with a Bachelors Degree in General Studies, with concentrations in Sociology and Communications. While currently an eager jobseeker, her interest lies in social issues and social science research. She is the proud pet-parent of her two-year-old Manx-shorthair mix cats, Chocolate Chip and Oreo.