Doctors at a Swedish eating disorder clinic are reporting that at least one modelling agency is trying to recruit female patients right on the clinics doorstep.
Some reports even claim a modelling scout approached a girl who was so weak she was being transported in a wheelchair.
In an interview with the Metro, The Director and Chief Physician at the clinic, Dr. Sandeberg said, “We think this is reprehensible. People have stood outside our clinic and tried to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin."
According to staff reports, this appalling behaviour by talent scouts has been going on for more than a year and many of the girls are very sick teenagers. These girls have a BMI that is far below what is considered healthy or even underweight.
What makes this particularly disturbing is the fact that, aside from the behaviour of the scouts being deplorable, what they are doing has the potential to do a great deal of harm. By offering someone a modelling job when they have an eating disorder, it can reinforce the persons eating habits and reward their negative body image. It could also encourage young people who have disordered eating patterns to take their behaviours to the next because they see it as a legitimate way to become a model.
Christina Lillman-Ring Borg, a care coordinator says that her daughter was approached by the agency when she was in for treatment. She told the metro, “It is awful. Part of the disease is that you have a distorted body image, and you get a sudden flattery and a job offer. It does not facilitate the treatment of the disease."
This type of behaviour could set eating disorder treatment back years as it reinforces the negative relationship with food that all ED’s have.
Currently the only country that has laws that could stop this sort of behaviour is Israel. They recently passed a law that makes it illegal to use clinically underweight models. It is also illegal to display underweight models in catwalk shows and advertisements .