We never really saw model scouting as a wholesome, benevolent undertaking. But if recent reports are true, it's much worse than we thought.
According to Metro, an eating disorder clinic in Sweden--the country's biggest in fact--has an unusual (we hope) problem. Model scouts are apparently coming to its facility in Stockholm, and approaching its patients--the ones being treated for eating disorders--about getting into modeling.
"They [talent scouts] have been standing outside our clinic and trying to pick up our girls because they know that they are skinny,” Anna-Maria af Sandeberg, chief doctor at the Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders (Stockholms Centrum för Ätstörningar), told Metro. Another caregiver at the center said girls as young as 14 have been approached outside the facility, where the patients used to go out for walks--something they're not longer allowed to do due to the unrelenting and seemingly predatory model scouts.
When approached, one model scout was defensive. The clinic's care coordinator and the mother of a 14-year-old who was approached, Chistina Lillman-Ringborg, told the TT news agency (via AFP), "They claimed that they approach healthy, normally slim young people and that they never urge anyone to lose weight."
As Jezebel's Jenna Sauers writes, "Indeed it seems highly unlikely that an agency would have to waste its time 'urging' a girl to lose weight when she is already anorexic to the point of hospitalization."
The logic on the part of the scouts seems to be that a person with an eating disorder--a really serious disease--is a person well-suited for the modeling world. We shouldn't really have to explain why that logic is backwards (but here are some reasons).
Fortunately, the clinic has been able to protect its patients from the misguided scouts for the past year, according to the report.
The whole thing is pretty shocking and hard to believe. We've reached out to the Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders and will report back if we hear more.