For the New Year: Having a Voice

While Feed usually reports on the factual side of the fashion and modeling industry, every so often we come across a topic not so directly related that demands to be addressed. This is an industry filled with a huge percentage of powerful women (editors/photographers/designers, etc) and models who are visually the “perfect” faces in the public’s view. In recent years, however, with the advent of the Internet and the ensuing onslaught of blogs, it has been especially easy to draw attention to the imperfections in front of and behind the scenes. 2008’s focus, in the fashion and modeling world was the much needed call for more faces of color on the runway and in the pages of the top style bibles.

The post that I just came across, however, cuts across all issues of race, weight, etc, affecting people of all color and all sizes. On the website Jezebel, “Tatiana” is the resident model who blogs about her experiences in the industry. Her most recent post is the scarily named “Not Rape Epidemic”: The Modeling Industry is Anything But Immune,” where she picks up on a powerful essay by a young writer named Latoya Peterson and relates it to her own experiences in the fashion world. It’s a must read, most definitely for female models, but also for anyone who is female or has a sister or a female friend because as Ms Peterson puts it, “not rape” is an epidemic that is everywhere.

A heavy topic to end an old year and to begin a new one, but a vital one indeed. In a year of “Change”, let’s hope that it will always include women having a voice not only politically but personally as well.

For Tatiana’s account (in the modeling industry): click here

For Latoya Peterson’s original essay: click here

Gucci S/S 09 by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. (As Tatiana mentions, Inez and Vinoodh are 2 of the few photographers who usually shoot women over the age of 18.)

  1. they show woman over age of 18…yes…bt does really count when they r retouched as much as to make them look 18..

  2. i spend about 3 hours reading and analyzing tatiana’s text and i should say i was really moved… and shocked!
    i can totally understand her fear and struggle… so sad 🙁

  3. Im very curious to read it im even more curous on how and why you illustrate this article with a Gucci add showing a shoe!;-)
    As far as the comment of truman goes ,Inez and Vinoodh shoot incredible pictures of women of all ages,when retouch is vital for their work they will do that but there are many,many beautiful photographs they took of older women where there is absolutely no retouch or even make up for that matter,their NY times magazine portfolio of stars clearly shows that,also pls keep in mind that often what u see in the magazines is not always the way it looked in real because most magazines have art directors who love to de wrinkle and smooth over all the pictures to give the illusion of a so called perfection ( as seen in American Vogue )where all models look like dolls, their work with or without the paintbox is magical!

  4. i just read this 2 articles,and i must say that i agree, every women model/or no model, even boys should read it. and fight it.
    i dont support girls or boys under 18 to work. i dont support that women of all ages should look at 12 year old and feel guilty if they dont look as one. inez and vindoodh action, is the action that every photographer or client should applied. this kind of people i wanna work with, the honest ones.
    stars are girl like iris or lakshemi, 26 year olds, who know where they stand and what they represent.

  5. To Truman,
    Did you take time to actually read Tatiana’s post? It’s not so much that the models look 18 after retouching (and that would be the fault of the magazines who retouch anything that has a soul), but that the models who I+V choose are more comfortable with themselves and their bodies as women which I believe show in their pictures as well.

    I only chose this picture because we are a visual and image based site. For once, I say, focus on the text in this post rather than the image.


  6. Silvio,
    Yes, it’s really horrifiying what she describes. It’s what so many women, including me, go through or have gone through. I wish I could go back to my 16 year old self so that I can give myself the ability to speak up for myself that I didn’t have back then.

    One of the reasons I put this up was for men like you to read it and hopefully educate the young women in their lives. I also hope that men will read it (whether aspiring model or agent) and will think twice about doing something so insidious and damaging.


  7. Darth,
    I illustrated this with the Gucci ad because Inez and Vinoodh shot it and I+V were mentioned by Tatiana in her article.
    I chose the shoe because I didn’t want any one model to be associated with this article as I don’t want it to say that XYZ model has gone through this as I don’t know if they did or not.

    Looking back at it though, the shoe is fitting on so many levels. Women kept under the heel of men for centuries… footbinding in old China was a way for men to hobble women and keep them from having freedom… the way that the sexy heel is a both a blessing and a curse for modern day women…

    Something to think about.


  8. hello Betty !The ad thing was more a question of relevance ,and i totally understand where u are coming from ,but after a seseon where almost all the models took a tumble ,spraing and in some cases even broken ankles , because of the high very uncomfortable shoes and heels ,so the hobbling is back again ,guys love it ,so again we are straight back ,pls take a look at the feet of the models after fashion season,its quite shocking ,also something to think about !

  9. This article touched me on several levels- both personally, and also in terms of the society in which we all live. A society in which we are forced to submit to images of (for lack of a better word) ‘sexed-up’/objectified “role” models, who are generally younger than us, as young as 13 or even 12. I have no objection against young girls modelling- but why can’t the babies of the industry stick to tween-childhood modeling, as opposed to editorial work, in what are generally regarded as women’s magazines such as Vogue, etc. until they’re at least 18. It’s almost unfair to the readers of these magazines who belong to a 20+ years of age group, to feature models so far removed from the reader’s age. What women SHOULD WANT to look like a prepubescent child of 12? That is NOT NATURAL. There are models over the age of 18 who retain a boyish body anyway, so why not feature them instead of the 6’ board flat 12 year old GIRL?! Featuring such young girls, who have NOT yet grown into their body or their sense of self, is only contributing to this on-going epidemic of pedophelia/non-rape. Again, I would like to state that this should not be the way that it is, that such young girls in the industry are responsible for any assault they may receive, or uncomfortable situations they may succomb to, for it is NOT their fault… but where are the handlers of these young girls? Where are the parents? Again, I feel that girls this young do have the right to continue working, just not in such adult realms as editorial work for Vogue, W, etc… and in more appropriate venues- that are geared for an audience of the age group in which they themselves fall.