Putting a stop to sexual harassment in the modeling industry
It is no secret that sex sells. This is, in part, why California has such a booming modeling industry. Girls and young women work very hard to stand out in a profession full of beautiful faces and scantily-clad bodies.
But even in an industry that sells the idea of sexiness, there is no excuse for sexual harassment. Yet the modeling world is full of it. Spreading this message is part of the new mission of former supermodel Kathy Ireland, who is now 51-years old and trying to protect girls and young women from some of the experiences she had and witnessed early in her career. Ireland says that the inappropriate behavior of photographers and other adult men in the industry can range from sexual harassment to sexual coercion to statutory rape.
Thankfully, Ireland had the courage to stand up for herself during an encounter when she was just 17 years old. She explained that “There was an incident where a photographer crossed the line with me. He wanted me to pose topless. I didn’t feel comfortable… he didn’t respect my ‘No.’ He was pushing, and he got a little physical with me and shoved me — so I decked him.”
Other young women and teen girls Ireland knew were not as able to advocate for themselves. She notes that models are often pressured into providing sex or sexual favors with the implied promise of a career boost and/or the implied threat that they will be blacklisted if they don’t. This is clearly quid pro quo sexual harassment, and it is illegal. If the model is underage, it is often criminal.
Modeling is a job which some manage to turn into a career. Sex and beauty might sell, but models should never have to sell themselves or endure sexual harassment.
Source: Inquisitr, “Kathy Ireland Opens Up About Sexual Harassment When She Was 17,” June 6, 2014