Sexual harassment remains rife in modeling industry

Everyone in the fashion industry is aware of the blurred lines that exist between creativity and sexuality, none so more prevalent than in the modelling industry. To create amazing images and campaigns that illicit thought, that inspire, and that capture the zeitgeist means models are subjected to all kinds of odd requests by photographers and stylists. Amongst which nudity remains a delicate subject.

The girls and boys we see on billboards, all glamorous, all aspirationally beautiful, are often just 16 years old, or even younger. This week British model Cara Delevigne spoke out about the inappropriate behaviour she experienced in the fashion industry, which many models refrain from mentioning, as it is deemed as another facet of the job, albeit not the most savoury one.

Delevigne told The Times: "I am a bit of a feminist and it makes me feel sick. It’s horrible and it’s disgusting." She explained. "You start when you are really young and you do, you get subjected to … not great stuff.”

Sexual harassment remains rife in modeling industry

Male models are just as vulnerable as female

But it is not just female models that experience harassment. In response to Delevigne's comments, an anonymous male model shared his experience on Dazed.

Remaining in anonymity the model stated he once flew to Paris for Fashion Week and after a long day of castings was told by his agent he had a shoot that evening. The shoot in question was in the photographer’s hotel room at 11.30 at night. On the shoot the model was asked if he wanted a shower and, after several shots, if he would mind doing some “underwear shots."

The duplicity of these requests are all too common, and it takes maturity to be able to say no to persistent photographers or to requests that don't have anything to do with the brand or clothes being shot.

Modeling agencies seem to prepare their clients better for walking the catwalk then they do for the grey areas that exist. Almost every model will have a story of duplicitous behaviour. If you think about this reality, in which other workplace would a man sticking his hand down your trousers be classed as an acceptable form of behaviour? The stylist could be adjusting the fly, or fixing something that shows up under the lens, but it all remains terrible vague and fragile.

Modeling agencies have a resonsibility to their clients, and whilst many insist they protect their girls and boys with the utmost care, every now and then we hear an all too familiar story, whether it is a famous photographer like Terry Richardson exploiting his power, or how Kate Moss struggled in her early days being forced to be photographed topless. There are sadly too many shades of grey in the colourful world of fashion.

Images: Kate Moss


Related news