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Casey Kitchel

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Sixteen & Modeling

In the summary of Cameron Russell's talk it reads "...she takes a wry look at the industry(fashion) that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16-years-old." The first time I read this I didn't think much of it. But the more times I read it, the more second thoughts I have. The statement might as well read "the fashion industry had a high school student looking highly seductive." Something about that is uncomfortable. What do other people think about this?

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  • Jul 29 2013: Of course it makes us feel uncomfortable.

    The fashion industry takes full advantage of the natural sexual attractiveness of youth, and this runs counter to one of our culture's myths, the innocence of children. This is one excellent example of why I consider our culture insane, particularly with respect to sexuality and clothes..
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      Jul 31 2013: The fashion industry exploits the "natural sexual attractiveness of youth" for their own commercial gain.

      Since when did selling clothes have anything to do with sex?
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    Jul 31 2013: Simon,
    I am sad for you. You sound like you had no childhood, and you seem proud that you have avoided it.
    As a very old man, I can say I lived as an adult a very long time, but the best years of my life was my childhood.
    I hope you don't become like me....., too soon old and too late smart.
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      Jul 31 2013: I was just thinking as I read his comment that if my children at 17 would have his worldliness, I would have felt like a failure as a parent.

      I have no other words to express my deep sense of disappointment.....I too am sad for some of today's youth.

      ".....too soon old, and too late smart...."
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        Jul 31 2013: Remember, Mary, that young people may not see themselves clearly.
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          Jul 31 2013: Samuel Clemens said it right and I paraphrase "When I left home as a young man, my father was a simpleton farmer. When I cane home many years later, I was surprised at how much he learned"
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          Jul 31 2013: That is why God made parents.
          We are supposed to hold up mirrors for our kids to see themselves in them once in a while.
  • Jul 31 2013: My opinion from a guy perspective and what might be a girls.

    Guy: Sounds like cognitive dissonance to me. As Berry Palmer explains "The fashion industry takes full advantage of the natural sexual attractiveness of youth". We are clear with laws about minors. Of course there is a lack of comfortableness because natural attractions will happen and the environment says no therefore causing anxiety. Its natural to feel attraction towards a female who is seductive and as studies show its enhanced towards youthful appearance. Natural is blocked by being told no. Plus people can even think these models are too youthful.

    Girl: The target view is meant for girls who want to fit in. Society and media have cliched the same images and kids want to be able to fit in. Or advertising wants to take advantage of dependability of parents and how they will pay for their kids expensive stuff. Finally, perhaps the industry targets young girls to idiolize this because youth is easier to influence and the hobby of purchasing these products young and into the future.

    All in all I think they should just have models be over 18. It causes too much anxiety and it reinforces the same faulty cliche in our society that you should look a certain way.
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    Jul 30 2013: Innocents lost. Childhood is such a precious time, does it have to be gone by 16? I have heard of parents pushing adulthood even before puberty. Most people have decades to engage in adulthood to include sexuality and all the other responsible activities that come with advancing years.
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      Jul 31 2013: Innocence? being a model and being good at it does not imply to lost innocence. Can you tell me which teenager is a innocent person that is not aware of stuff.. Most teens have sex before 16. Its quite the norm and that norm is not going anywhere. You might nt like it but thats how it is.

      Also, age is just a number. Most of us teens become adults in out minds before we come of age. We are far more advanced than previous generation teens and thats how we are.
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    Jul 31 2013: You could look at it in two ways:

    1. A child under 18 who is being promoted in a "sexual" manner; which is because people under 18 are soo called 'immature'.

    2. A young adult who is doing what she likes and does it well.

    I personally would go with option 2. Its her life and her decision to model and the media might have used a wrong set of words which provoke various thoughts, I say we are no one to judge her.

    Its the perspective in which we choose to think about her. Make that right and the world is a happier place.

    Also she's 16 and she might have looked seductive, so what? My ex last year was 16 (i'm still 17) and she used to wear super sexy clothes and i don't think anyone should be judged on it or by the words of someone else. You feel uncomfortable because most people presume anything seductive or whatever for people below 18/21 is wrong as you know it can be considered as CP or maybe because its social convention that a young person should be modest in looks and appearences. Anyway, the person we are talkin about here is a model, what do you expect?
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      Jul 31 2013: Hey Simon,

      "Anyway, the person we are talkin about here is a model, what do you expect?"
      Are you suggesting it's okay to think of and treat models differently because of their profession?
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        Aug 3 2013: Don't take things the way they are not meant to be.

        You know what I mean and I don't think I need to answer you.
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          Aug 4 2013: Certainly you felt the need to answer me because you did.

          Just making sure you're ready to take responsibility for the things you say Simon. Judging by your response, you aren't.
  • Jul 30 2013: Good point but this is the way it is I have never meet any traditional Puritans. You are right but we are politically impotent and that probably is the way it should be now.
  • Jul 30 2013: I think most of sixteen-year girls are mature to choose whatever clothers they like to wear,and in the period,it is their rights to follow fashion industry.I think from psychological growing period,it is quite normal,try to strangle or deny the natural growing period isn't good.And more over,it is the right time for them to be enlighten what is the more important than looking cover.
  • Jul 30 2013: At the age of teenager, teens do not notice they are now living in their heyday. They try to look kind of more cool, sexy by covering themselves behind fancy clothers and putting make-up. I think they need "naturality" . Not all decoration make someone really good. If one wants to fulfill a personal goal, proactive attitudes are required. Appearance is also important thing, and good-character is kind of another.
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    Jul 29 2013: I really think life has a certain balance where if something is bad, something causes it to stop. The fact that sixteen-year-olds model in rather sexy images year after year and nothing causes it to stop suggests to me it is not too bad.

    There are strong reasons to not feel uncomfortable about it. First of all, isn't it accurate? These days, most sixteen-year-olds are very aware of sex, think about sex, have some experience with sex. So what is wrong with provocative photos, they're pretty close to people's experience.

    Secondly, the models themselves mostly can separate the photos from who they are in real life. Even Cameron shows us photos of her "real life" and her model images, and we see the differences, and we know she was aware of them. If the models have any trouble keeping the two lives separate, they have family, friends, activities, to remind them who they are in real life.

    Thirdly, there's a natural barrier to the photos becoming too risque, which is that they're going to appear in magazines that are sold to anyone on the magazine stands at stores anyone can go into.
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      Jul 31 2013: Greg,

      "The fact that sixteen-year-olds model in rather sexy images year after year and nothing causes it to stop..."
      Do you think this is because people or okay with it, or do you think nothing has caused it to stop because there is a lack of awareness by the general public about the practices of the fashion industry and modeling agencies?

      "...suggests to me it is not too bad." So you believe it's not okay.
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        Aug 1 2013: I think it hasn't stopped because it isn't appallingly bad, and in many people's opinions not bad at all.

        I don't think it's bad, Casey, I think it's what they call a "wobbler," you can make a good argument for it, and a good argument against it. I slightly side with the arguments for it, for example I would point out that young people who model get many skills from doing it, and also, although you occasionally hear about a young model or actor who goes off the rails, most of them do okay I believe.
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          Aug 12 2013: "...I would point out that young people who model get many skills from [modeling]..."

          It's curious that you say that, because Cameron explains that there is no skill required to model and there are not many skills learned from modeling. 4:40
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      Aug 2 2013: "First of all, isn't it accurate?" Well, in general the demographics of models is inaccurate. And on top of that, the target audience of fashion advertisements is not 16-year-old boys and girls, it's men and women 10, 20+ years their senior.

      "So what is wrong with provocative photos..." If they're of 16-year-old boys and girls, it kind of becomes difficult to explain to someone like a police officer...

      "These days, most sixteen-year-olds are very aware of sex, think about sex, have some experience with sex." I agree completely. I will say though that there is a difference between 16-years-olds engaging in those kinds of behavior amongst their peers, versus amongst people that are 10, 20+ years their senior. Would you agree?
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        Aug 2 2013: Casey, what do you mean, "in general the demographics of models is inaccurate"?

        What do you mean the target audience is not 16-year-old girls, it's women 10 or 20 years their senior? The styles I see 16-year-old girls wearing in ads do not seem like they could be worn by women 10 or 20 years older, they are a look I associate with the 16-year-old age group.

        As far as fashion photos of 16-year-olds that are somewhat sexy, I believe they are considered acceptable, I don't hear of the police raiding the offices of Vogue or Elle.

        I'm not sure what you mean by 16-year-olds engaging in sex behaviors with people 10 or 20 years their senior, even if it's true the photos are supposed to appeal to that age group doesn't mean the models have sex relations with that age group. What do you mean?

        I tend to think the high-fashion photos are supposed to generate some excitement about the clothes and designers, and the suggestion of sex does do that. At 16 years old, I think many girls are trying to be somewhat sexy, they want to attract boys to ask them out, talk to them, etc. I don't think these young women are only interested in looking good, or sexy, they also try to develop their character and intelligence, but looking good, and sexy, is also attractive.

        What exactly is your concern? You're afraid women will think their only value is in looking sexy?