I spent about an hour today reading through the stories that @cameronrussell
has been sharing from models working in the fashion industry about their experiences with sexual assault and sexual harassment at the hands of photographers. I urge you to read them yourself and follow the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse
Even as a child, I was told stories of how common it is for aspiring models to be “taken advantage of”. Sexually assaulted, would have been the better way to say it. It might seem logical to think that once this becomes common knowledge, even to people who don’t work in the industry, that something would have to change. But the reality is that it becomes a sort of permission to predators. “It’s how this business works” has apparently become a self justification for these photographers to force themselves upon even minors. It’s hard not to read these stories and be physically repulsed.
But maybe the most powerful aspect of the accounts being shared, and Cameron’s message, is that this goes beyond that vague knowledge that this stuff happens. It is so systemic, so ingrained, that so many models, agents, editors, stylists... they literally know the photographers who are behaving so morally reprehensibly, not to mention criminally, and still nothing is done. The silence is deafening.
I don’t work in fashion, but I felt the need to make a photo on this topic. When someone volunteers to step into a photoshoot, the photographer has been given power. And they have a responsibility to honour the trust that is required to give someone that power. To violate that trust so completely, is an added level of reprehensible. This culture needs to change.