This week has seen two stories in the media on body image among teenage and adult women.
Friday morning the social and regular media sphere was atwitter about news that Condé Nast has announced that it will no longer hire models who are too thin. Nor will they hire models who are under the age of 16.
They will focus instead on projecting an image of good health.
ABC News quoted former model Sara Ziff, who was modeling at the age of 14, and who now runs The Model Alliance, which works with the modeling industry on various fronts, including working conditions, body and age issues.
“The use of underaged models is linked to financial exploitation, eating disorders, interrupted schooling, and contributes to models’ overall lack of empowerment in the workplace,” [Ziff] said. “We simply believe that 14 is too young to be working in this very grown-up industry, and we’re glad that Condé Nast International is making this commitment.
In addition to agreeing not to knowingly work with models under 16 or with eating disorders, the Vogue pact says the magazines will help “structure mentoring programs” for younger models and raise awareness of the problem of model health. The magazines said they would encourage healthy working conditions backstage and encourage designers “to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.”
Earlier in the week a Change.org petition was put up from, ironically, a 14-year-old girl, asking 17 Magazine to “commit to printing one unaltered – real – photo spread per month.”
“I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that’s supposed to be for me,” wrote Julia Bluhm, the teenager from Waterville, Maine, who posted the petition. Bluhm is part of the organization, SPARK, a movement and website dedicating to combating unhealthy body images and sexualization of girls in the media.
As of May 4, Bluhm’s petition had over 50,000 signatures. To add your name, click here.