Excerpt: “In many ways, modeling is a peculiar industry. A model can show up for a job fully clothed only to be asked to disrobe without warning. Colleagues may touch a model’s body during a shoot or make snide remarks about it — “lose weight” and “do something with your hair.” Models and photographers may meet in private spaces, like studios and apartments, with no observers. And drug and alcohol use during such meetings typically doesn’t raise eyebrows. The intimate nature of the business is exactly why sexual harassment flourishes, models say. But as the national dialogue about sexual misconduct inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandalreverberates far beyond Hollywood, models are sharing their experiences with sexual misconduct and fighting back. Their stories, and lawsuits, mean the fashion industry must address whether it has been complicit in fostering sexual abuse. Mark Ricketson, the second model to publicly accuse star fashion photographer Bruce Weber of sexual misconduct, suggested that the fashion industry’s culture made him vulnerable to exploitation. During a news conference Tuesday at attorney Lisa Bloom’s suburban Los Angeles firm, Ricketson described meeting Weber for the first time. He said the encounter took place 13 years ago, when he was just 18, and that his manager stressed how important it was that Weber “like” him. The session began with a “breathing exercise” that ultimately left Ricketson traumatized, he alleges….
Dr. Yvonne Thomas, a Los Angeles psychologist, expressed concern that some agencies may be dehumanizing models by failing to protect them from sexual abuse and valuing them primarily for their earning potential. “That really adds a lot of pressure to male and female models,” she said. “It makes it harder to know what to do in those circumstances [of sexual harassment]. You certainly can feel very helpless or trapped. It’s a very, very difficult position for a person to be in. You can feel you’re at the mercy of the person who holds the power over your financial stability and potential career success.” Thomas said models, or any victim of sexual misconduct, may develop anxiety and depression. They may also have trouble eating or sleeping. She said they often feel ashamed, even though they’re not to blame for the abuse. Ricketson and Boyce both said they’ve developed some of these symptoms, particularly depression and anxiety.”
Dr. Yvonne Thomas is a Los Angeles Psychologist. To read the full article “The Bruce Weber Allegations Shed Light On Sexual Misconduct In Fashion,” visit racked.com