A few days ago, Kaia Gerber, the young model and 15-year-old daughter of Supermodel legend Cindy Crawford, posted a picture to her Instagram that almost instantaneously got bombarded with negative comments. People were concerned about the ‘racy’ pose Gerber was in and felt it was inappropriate for someone her age.
Now let’s be clear, the image couldn’t be more PG13 if it tried. Sure there’s a bit of skin in the image but it showcases Gerber’s bare shoulders which in the scheme of things, isn’t really that different to baring an ankle and wasn’t that made legal like, over a hundred years ago?
It’s certainly not the first time age has made headlines in the modelling industry. A little while ago, I wrote a story about a Calvin Klein underwear ad that was banned from the windows of a UK store because it featured a young model that looked younger than she was and a lot of people took offense to the sexual implications of the campaign. While I found the reaction to the whole situation uncalled for, particularly considering the model was actually over 18years of age, these situations have got me thinking, how old is the cut off for young models? How young is too young?
Most people would be surprised to know the ages of some of their favourite models. It’s easy to assume they’re older than they are because of the lifestyle they’re leading and their look but a professional team of hair and makeup artists and a designer dress can do that to a girl.
We’re a society that’s obsessed with youth. Cosmetic procedures are more accessible and promoted than ever, encouraging women to reach for that eternal youth they’ve been searching for. And to a degree, older generations have begun to exploit the idea of youth and its culture in order to make a profit. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that a lot of models are in their golden years when they’re still shy of 21.
Is it wrong than for society to have an issue with these young girls being snapped up before they graduate high school to trade trigonometry for photoshoots and Shakespeare for the catwalk?
I kind of see age like sexuality. It’s fluid and can be un-defined and certainly shouldn’t be scrutinized. In recent years we’ve begun to evolve past the notion that old is ugly and more and more people are celebrating the tear down of traditional age barriers. It feels wrong than to say that just because a model is living their younger years, that they can’t express themselves how they want. I mean, we’re not even talking about nudity here people!
We may never get to the point in this industry where people are happy to just let others be and act how they want and celebrate the diverse array of personalities that come from that but my god I at least hope we’re on our way to minding our own fucking business and taking a chill pill on all of this stereotyping.