Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh Jesus Christ

As I was writing about how f-ing great the Girls Rock! DC camp was, I found this on the Washington Post website.

Modeling camp? Because why teach your girls, ages 7-17, about creativity, talent and comfort in their own skin when you can teach them about unrealistic standards of beauty and how to pose like a sexpot?

As one of the campers told the Post:
"I'm going to be a high-fashion model," says Bailey Milde, a long-limbed 12-year-old from Stafford in short shorts and a tank top. "Not all agencies are going to like me, but I think enough will that I'll make enough money to live on. I have a good body type for it."
By which she means that, as a pre-pubescent child, she's really skinny and has no breasts.

I know lots of models are very young, but I also know that eating disorders, drug use and depression run rampant in the fashion industry. And I also know that reading about the urge of people to teach their 11-year-old daughters how to wear makeup and pose so men want to have sex with them makes for one of those exhausting feminist moments.

In fairness, drug use also runs rampant in the world of rock and roll. But Katie tells me her GR!DC girls got a talk on how fame isn't everything, and while I did stop a participant on the street to ask for her autograph, the purpose of rock camp wasn't to break these girls into show business or to create unrealistic expectations. It was to teach them that's it's good to be a girl.

At model camp, on the other hand:
Campers from 7 to 17 spend a week or more learning makeup tips, runway walking and how to compile a professional portfolio. They leave with a handful of fashion photos and, generally, an intensified desire to enter the competitive world of modeling. ...

After camp is over, each will meet with Cole and a parent to talk about her potential for professional modeling.
The camp's founder defends her camp as a self-esteem builder, but look at those pictures. And imagine that meeting: "I'm sorry, but one of Kayla's eyes is smaller than the other, and she's 5 pounds heavier than the average 8 year old. She'll have to go on a strict diet, and even then she'll be lucky to get a dog food commercial. Sorry, Fatty."

The campers also spend the day at a spa. I feel like I've spent too much time defending girls' rock camp. This modeling camp is disgusting, and its values are completely misplaced.

One or two of the most promising (and tallest -- adult models generally must be 5 feet 9 or taller) might be recruited to join Cole's scouting firm, Model Source, which represents models she's chosen who are trying to get jobs with New York agencies. Shorter girls will receive a list of other reputable agencies to pursue on their own. All will be offered the chance to participate in Cole's $2,000 modeling program during the school year.

"I'm known for being honest," Cole said. "If I don't think someone can work, I'll say that I don't know that this is the best investment for you."

The rest of you skinny girls, fork it over.

And finally:

Campers said they understand that the chances of hitting it big are slim. But even if they never get a modeling job, they said, they still learned valuable skills, such as how to address the paparazzi.

Because, obviously, handling the paparazzi is a skill all young women should cultivate. You know how we treat those who can't.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I literally published my blog about this and came over to read yours. Seriously? I'm also tipping Jezebel about this slash rock camp.