There is a strange awareness we have over the abuses behind the photos we see. We know of it so much it becomes a cliché: the wide-eyed girl full of hope tries her best to become a model soon learns that to be on a glossy magazine means dealing with harassment and sexism. It’s both a fictional trope but it is a horrid reality we barely want to look at.
Cameron Russell, a model for around 10 years for brands like Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret, and Prada, is making this situation as public and tangible as possible. She’s sharing screenshots of the stories of abuse and sexual harassment on her Instagram. At the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she took to her Instagram account to give a voice to the people who have been forced to tolerate sexist behavior in the modeling industry.
It’s just been three days since she started posting the stories which she receives in her direct messages but she’s already put up around 50 stories. A lot of them have trigger warnings, involve young and confused girls, and even well-known modeling agencies.
Lately, Cameron posted collective entries about sexual abuse, the role of the fashion industry, and the media in reversing this rape culture. “Sexual harassment is unacceptably commonplace,” wrote Cameron. Her posts prove that these stories happen because we have rape culture and has taught us to chalk it up as just part of the job. It’s not. Harvey and company cannot tell you otherwise.
This is not the first time Cameron is using her model status to inspire change and to talk about taboo topics. Her Tedx talk on image and privilege confronted how the construction of beauty is biased and puts other people, mostly non-white, always at a disadvantage.
Art by Lara Intong
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