Why Is Modelling As A Career Considered A Taboo in India?


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‘Fashion’ – a Madhur Bhandarkar movie, released in 2008 deserves a lot of kudos because the movie puts into spotlight the dark side of the nefarious, clandestine modelling industry. In the movie ex-Miss World Priyanka Chopra is the protagonist who is shown as an aspiring small town girl who wants to make it big in the fashion industry. Gradually as she goes ahead on her arduous road of modelling she witnesses herself change from angel to demon thereby losing her humanity quiet consciously. Such is the prowess of modelling industry that it makes you shed your identity & who you were to someone vicious & callous.

 edc11873d295dac4b7f66ca2f9b4d72bModelling industry seems to be full of lights & glamour where models are given the best working conditions surrounded by the most talented, creative people associated with renowned brands. But wipe off that sheen and another reality emerges. Disrobe at casting, sexual abuse, nudity without consent, rape, etc goes hand in hand with the modelling industry. As the models are independent contractors there is a misogynistic attitude towards them making them more vulnerable to these nefarious acts.

Road to a successful career in modelling industry goes through lot of endurance, embarrassment of all sorts & sacrifices which is why Indian parents are reluctant and not audacious enough to allow their children to pursue a career full of savagery. At the end of the day which parent would like to see their daughter going through such extreme duress for monetary benefits & perks that won’t even commensurate with the amount of mental, physical torture that one goes into.

Zero figure, Thigh gap is the new trend in Modelling world which has led to Models working under extreme pressure as they have to maintain their figure because without that they are nothing. Eating disorders start taking place and they start taking resort to drugs and in no time everything goes out of control. When they complaint about all this, “ You are paid to look good, now shut up” is the reply they get.

While some may say that Indian society is very fussy about the modelling industry and considers it a taboo because of their narrow-mindedness, the fact that every other day sexual assault, rapes occurs in India such reserved &  polarised attitude is justified. Currently India is not a safe & secure country for women & in an industry where neither there is work place standard applicable nor a consent agreement signed for nudity it is not at all conducive for females to work in such unsecured environment.

The story for guys who aspire to be in modeling industry is no different. The industry is such that more than competency you need contacts & connections. Only someone good at schmoozing & hobnobbing can expect ascension in this field. Success comes in the later part of life & that too is not guaranteed that’s why parents tend to advice their children not to ingress into this industry.

When compared with females, guys don’t have that much arduous journey in this industry.Our social framework is such that it is a male dominated society where females are expected to manage the household activities or in the current scenario to do a job to add to family earnings to make both ends meet but the real emancipation is still far from reach. Misogynistic attitude still prevails in our society where modelling is seen as a cheap activity done by flaunting flesh to lure the customers. Indian culture considers women as holier than thou and that’s why they are not allowed to do such below-the-belt activity.

Considering the larger picture, Modelling industry is the scapegoat of the problems faced by the nation across all sectors. Is it just the Modelling industry where a female is harassed or sexually assaulted? This problem prevails across the country and across all sectors but our people, society, government or whatever name we give them, they have not been able to give enough emancipation & power to the women inhabitant in our country. Also our judiciary system is inefficient to nip the problem in the bud by bringing out stringent laws, robust judiciary system & bringing regulations over Modelling Industry.

– Jeet Haria


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