Fashion is a massive industry with a dark underbelly. We love our clothes, but the people who work in the industry, and the environment itself, must be protected and cared for, for the world to move forward. This includes how we treat our models. These people are at risk due to oppressive and unhealthy expectations placed on this competitive role, and it is up to individuals, agencies, businesses, and governments to put regulations in place to stop it. We need to change the dialogue so that these top health issues stop happening.
Addiction in the Modeling Industry
Modeling is a fast-paced life with a short career span. It means that models are pressured into doing things they might not want to and that it comes with it a sort of celebrity-style party life. Further, a majority of models have claimed that they were introduced to drugs or alcohol while on the job. Drugs, in particular, have appeal to models, as they do not contain the same amount of calories as many alcohol types do. In order to overcome these addictions, there needs to be greater support for professional substance abuse drug rehab program to help these men and women move forward in a healthy manner.
Eating Disorders in the Modeling Industry
Models are constantly being pressured to lose weight, to the point where governing bodies like those in France have outlawed the practice. When a third of all models have eating disorders, and two-thirds have been asked to lose weight, there needs to be a delicate process in regards to encouraging the fashion industry to promote health over skeletal frames. The issue with outright bans is in policing them. You can have models be weighed in, but this could introduce a practice of binge eating. A more consistent and continuous method of monitoring will need to be introduced, but the only way the issue will completely be resolved is when a complete boycott of these agencies that promote this unhealthy work environment is introduced by brands and consumers alike.
Mental Health in the Modeling Industry
Nearly 70% of all models suffer from either anxiety or depression, most likely due to the toxic culture of the modeling world. Between the pressure to be skinny, to the competitiveness, and even to the sexual harassment and sexism, it can be difficult for many women and men – who are predominately in their early twenties or younger – to find the support they need. More dignified working conditions must be introduced, and support groups should be readily available to help Male and female models should not be pressured to changing in full front of photo-shoot staff, nor should they feel like they have nowhere to go if they have experienced sexual harassment of any kind.
Models are not mannequins, and treating them as such is putting many young men and women into a dangerous position. They need to be treated with respect and dignity to ensure their health and wellbeing into the future.