‘Girl Model’: Close Look at the Underage Modeling Industry
From the controversial 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau to the 15-year-old living Youtube doll, fans are pining after these young, underage girls. So when do we need to stop and ask ourselves: how young is too young?
‘Girl Model’, an award-winning documentary attempts to take a closer look at the phenomenon of underage modeling. The movie profiles the life of a 13-year-old Siberian girl who gets scouted and flown to Japan with no money or English-speaking skills. The NYTimes summarizes the end result:
Nadya, who speaks only Russian, is handed a contract in English and Japanese and is promised $8,000. She is not told that her living costs will be deducted from that amount.
After many unsuccessful castings, Nadya returns to Russia in debt.
“The whole modeling industry and the young girls involved in it are such a recipe for disaster,” the producer Ashley Sabin explains. “I feel like in many ways we document a disaster.”
Beyond the possible pitfalls of getting taken advantage of, the underage modeling industry is also spawning an oversexualized image of young girls. Some people believe that this is all determined by societal norms (heard of the French lingerie for toddlers?) while others believe that these young girls need to be protected from the precarious nature of public consumption.
So should underage modeling be considered an art form, or should stricter limits be made to protect young girls?