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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: 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?

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