12-13 year-old girl models February 12, 2012Posted by petitblogbymoi in Fashion, Movies.
Tags: documentary, Girl Model, Japanese fashion
Yesterday my mom called me from the living room and said there was a documentary about models in Japan. As she knows about my interest in Japan, she thought I might find it interesting. So I gave it a chance.
The documentary is called Girl Model and follows a 13-year old girl called Nadya from Siberia, who wins a beauty contest and gets the chance to become a model in Japan. She thinks it is a dream-come-true and wants to earn money for her poor family. But the modelling world is not as glamorous as she might expected, and has extremely high demands regarding her size and weight. Nadya who is unable to speak English soon finds herself in the brutal reality of the business, where she can’t eat, walk in the sun, swim in the sea – she practically must not grow! The Japanese modelling business wants cute-looking skinny pubescent girls to model adult women’s clothing.
Many young girls are scouted in Siberia and travel to Japan, having been promised that they will earn a lot of money, but most of them come back with debt from travelling expenses and having been taken advantage of their ignorance. In the film, Nadya doesn’t even get to see her photos and must go to a store and browse lots of magazines to get a glimpse of herself. She also ends up with debt and must take modelling jobs in China and Taiwan to pay it off.
This documentary really shocked me. To see how the model industry uses 12-14 year old girls to model women’s clothing, and makes the girls lie about their ages, gives one a very unsettling feeling in the stomach. Nadya is made to say she is 15, even though she’s 13. I doubt it’s only Japan who uses models that young, as I think I often see models that are very skinny and has that perfect pubescent skin and almost none womanly figures. In the film they also tell us that many fashion houses claim they don’t use models under 18, but the truth is that they many times don’t know how old the models really are.
When the girls wear women’s clothing and makeup it can be hard to tell their age, and until now I thought most young-looking models was about 20, and had no shapes because they almost didn’t eat anything. But I looked through some of my Japanese magazines and some scans on my computer, and must say they really look very young.
Most of the scans are from the magazine ‘Soup’, which I got from a Japanese friend. I could only find one in all my three ‘Cutie’ magazines, which was a relief. I also found some sickening pages in the bottom of the ‘Soup’ magazine with before-after shots of girls, who had been on diet.
The documentary gives you a look into the private world of the model industry and it’s cruelty, but it does not come up with any solutions to solve the problem. It is good that it opens our eyes, and let us know that this is happening, but it also give you a hopeless feeling that there is nothing to do about it.
As much as I think these girls are extremely beautiful to look at, I can’t except the fact that many young innocent girls are misused and drop out of school and looses the opportunity to get a future, because they run into debt. I hope something will be done to stop this in the future.