Modeling scouts have been prowling outside Sweden's largest eating disorder clinic, trying to lure critically thin patients into the fashion world!
Naturally! Where else would you find such a pool of perilously skinny young women who're unlikely to put on weight? Anna-Maria af Sandeberg, chief doctor at the 1,700-bed Stockholm Centre for Eating Disorders: "People have stood outside our clinic trying to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin. It sends the wrong signals."
The clinic's had to change its patients' routines, because girls kept getting approached. One 14yr.old was handed a business card, and an agent interviewed another girl who was so emaciated she was in a wheelchair. When a caregiver tried to explain that her charges suffered from a serious illness, the scouts claimed they only approach healthy, normally slim young people and that they never urge anyone to lose weight...riiiiigghhtt!
If you're looking for "healthy, normally slim young people", you would NOT start at a medical centre treating women whose low weights have resulted in hospitalisation. However, if you're committed to "never urging anyone to lose weight", then gathering a stable of anorexic models is probably a good move - after all, their eating disorder will do all the urging instead!
Of course, scouts know all this, because up to 40% of models suffer from some kind of eating disorder. What's shocking is not so much what it reveals about the fashion industry's definitions of beauty - although the notion that agents are raiding hospitals for 'stick insects' is very disturbing - but how little people in the fashion business seem to respect the health of the women who're making them rich. Or of women in general. A fifth of girls and women diagnosed with anorexia die a premature death. 60-70% never fully recover.
How confusing and harmful it must be for an eating-disordered teenager, trying to recover, to hear praise for her rail-thin frame, to hear that it might start a glamorous career.
Heartless, perverse, exploitative crap like this makes the world a more toxic place...