Liking yourself is unconventional. I look at my scars, and I think they’re sexy; they’re a hallmark of having suffered and constantly trying to heal. I love my skin-not because it’s perfect, but almost as a “fuck you” statement to conventional media and societal expectations. This is who I am-I’ve lived, and I’m not ashamed to feel a sense of pride.
If I had gone into modelling, I doubt I’d be as confident.
I’m a nonconformist-I have been all my life. As a young child, I found that difficult to cope with-almost as if my mind had overtaken the growth of the rest of my body. Why, when other nine year old school girls were administering lipstick and clumsily strutting in their sister’s high heels was I halfway up a tree somewhere, contemplating what it means to be alive?
It must have been caused by the parental loss I experienced-I was always a strange, somewhat otherworldly child, but that must have been the tip of the iceburg.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a new and unfamiliar pain that would go on to haunt me for many years to come-but it gave me a soul; unlocked my inner-intellectual.
So conclusively, in that respect, I suppose that I have always been fairly immaleable-or, to use the exact words of my ex-bestfriend “a stubborn little fucker”. Which I said was unfair, really, and I still refuse to admit defeat in the face of triumph.
Which brings me to the point-no one ever gains a personality, a spirit, through materialistic means or visually pleasing those around them. Only life has the capacity to do that.
Realistically, non judgementally, I appreciate and know in my heart that my mum only considered entering me into the modelling industry with my best interests at heart. Aged fourteen, when quizzing her about her ideas, she responded “I wanted to boost your confidence”. She’s the strongest and most loving woman I know-which perhaps allows me to gain an insight as to how child modelling is promoted by those who truly do care for them. I was one of the lucky ones: eventually, my mum concluded against it.
Personally, I despise the Industry; it’s morally compromising, harmful to those who aren’t as conventionally attractive, and shallow. None of these are attributes that our children should be aspiring and striving towards.
Not only do I face concern about the impact of the practice as a whole on society, but equally-if not more so-I question the happiness and levels of self esteem that children who have the soul purpose of being “beautiful” embedded into them by their elders.
We all know that models often have to be a certain height, weight and wear the right hairstyle-they’re rarely overweight, and over 80% of workers employed from across the globe in New York are white women. This concept of the “perfect” body type is harming young people everywhere. It is the detrimental side effects of the “hourglass” idealism that is driving kids to dramatic dieting and anorexia, to take daily exercise to a new extreme. There’s an increasing number of my peers who are very much feeling the pressure to look “better”, “thinner”, “prettier”-and quite frankly, it’s repulsive.
Long gone are the days when this was solely a “woman’s issue”. Eating disorders among young men have also soared, with devestating consequences. We are actively living in a state of Worse Case Scenario-Annorexia’s high mortality rate is striking at random, and at an alarming pace.
Above all else, we should be instilling in the younger generation that true success is skin deep. That being a valid member of society is acheived through our actions and the good we do in the world, so that they have the resilience and are inquisitive enough to question the “norms” that are laid out to them.
Everything else will only ever be a footprint in the sand.
Honestly, I think that parents often make the wrong decisions for their children-but their intentions are harmless and motivated by love. More often than not, they have hearts of gold-and no one’s suggesting it’s easy to successfully bring another human into the world without experiencing a certain amount of turbulence along the way.
But one thing is certain: no one ever changed the world through true beauty alone.
Child modelling is as detrimental to the individual as the Victorian practice of sending them up the chimney. Only this time around, the illnesses caused can’t be seen:
So it is our duty to shine a light on them.