Skip to comments.OMG! There's Discrimination in the Modeling Industry! (on looks,age)
Posted on 03/29/2011 6:51:46 PM PDT by sickoflibs
The Australian media recently featured a story of an allegation of race discrimination in the modeling industry. Ms. Kema Rajandran, a beautiful young Indian model, complained to news services about a modeling agency in Perth that advised her that her work would be limited because of her race. In an email to Ms. Rajandran, the coordinator of the agency said,
We think you are very photogenic and would be suitable for our Casting Division. Please note however that as you are of non-Caucasian heritage your work opportunities in Perth would be extremely limited.
Now, there is no doubt that this is race discrimination, or at least an indication that Ms. Rajandran can expect to encounter race discrimination in her future attempts to book modeling work in Perth. Evidently offended by this news, Ms. Rajandran told the Australian media that she plans to speak out against the agency (and in fact was already doing so, by complaining to the media about the matter in the first place).
In response, the manager of the modeling agency adopted the don't-shoot-the-messenger defense, arguing that the agency was just being honest with Ms. Rajandran about her prospects in the Perth modeling industry. "This is just ridiculous," the manager told the media. "I don't see that this is race related. If we don't feel that she's going to secure work in the Perth market then we tell [her] about it. We have the liberty to give an honest opinion."
Really? Not race related? Doesn't that term "non-Caucasian heritage" have just a little bit to do with race?
Let's get real here: this is race related. Ms. Rajandran has been advised that she is, or will be, the subject of adverse race discrimination as a model in Perth. She has been explicitly advised that she will find it harder to get modeling work because she is not Caucasian and you don't get too much more clear-cut than that. It is quite likely that this race discrimination is not the agency's decision, and that they are indeed just the messenger, but it is nonetheless real. This is race related.
So is this unfair? There is something about race discrimination that certainly seems unfair to many people. Ms. Rajandran can't change the fact that she is Indian, nor, presumably, would she want to. She has no control over her race and had no choice in the matter to begin with she was born with Indian heritage, and she will die with Indian heritage. It is not a characteristic that reflects on her character or decisions. And she is therefore facing adverse consequences from a personal characteristic that is not of her own making. Nevertheless, something seems amiss. Something rings hollow about her protests. But what is it?
One might feel a bit sorry for Ms. Rajandran. One might, that is, until one realizes that although she is the subject of adverse discrimination in this present instance, she is also the beneficiary of many other forms of discrimination, of a very similar kind. In fact, her entire career, and her entire qualification as a model, depends on forms of discrimination that are exactly as arbitrary and superficial as the race discrimination she is now facing.
This moral similarity between race discrimination and other kinds of discrimination is quite interesting. In his writings on discrimination, Professor Walter Block exposes the absurdity of attempts to forcibly equalize representation in different occupations and activities amongst demographic groups, saying,
Even if such a policy were possible to administer fairly, which it is not, even if it did some good, which it does not, it is always open to the charge of hypocrisy, for there is no difference in principle between the characteristics which are presently protected (race, gender, nationality) and those that are not (height, weight, intelligence, beauty). And further, the characteristics we have so far considered are only the tip of the iceberg of those upon which people discriminate.
In addition, to mention only a few more, there is hair color, the side of the head upon which people part their hair, fastidiousness, neatness, strength of handshake, biliousness, loudness, shyness, considerateness, reliability, left or right handedness the list goes on and on.
What else can Professor Block teach us about discrimination in the present case? Well, take a look at the photos below: one is a picture of Ms. Rajandran; the other is a picture of Professor Block.
Ask yourself, why is it that Ms. Rajandran can make a living as a fashion model, but Professor Block probably could not? If your visual assessment is anything like mine, you'll notice the following: Ms. Rajandran is a young woman, whereas Professor Block is an older gentleman, whose peak of physical beauty is probably a few years behind him. She is extremely lean and physically fit, whereas he is a bit stockier, with less muscle tone and a touch more bulk. She has a beautiful, youthful face, full lips, stylish hair, taut skin, a long elegant nose, and big bright youthful eyes. He has quite a handsome face, but with older, less-taut skin, smaller eyes, a bigger, more-bulbous nose, scruffier and grayer hair, and a proud bald cranium not exactly in high demand in the modeling world. (But at least he doesn't have to worry about discrimination on the basis of which side he parts his hair!)
Doubtless, Professor Block is a handsome fellow. But absent some major change in the kind of "look" favored in the modeling world, he is not likely to appear on the catwalk anytime soon. He is of Caucasian heritage yes, but nonetheless, due to other unchosen characteristics, his opportunities in the modeling world are, as a modeling agency might put it, "extremely limited."
Ms. Kema Rajandran (model)Professor Walter Block (not a model)Some of these features are within a person's control, or at least their partial control. No doubt Ms. Rajandran and other models spend large amounts of effort exercising, eating well, caring for their skin, and grooming themselves in order to maintain their exemplary looks. But there is also no doubt that some of these features are genetic, or at least partially genetic. For most women, no amount of effort or even surgery will enable them to look as stunning as Ms. Rajandran. In fact, many of her loveliest facial features are probably a direct result of her genetic lineage and her "non-Caucasian heritage." Is it fair that she can earn large amounts of money as a fashion model, whereas other women cannot? Is it fair that she was born with a genetic endowment that led her to grow into a highly attractive young woman, capable of being a model?
Ms. Rajandran did not choose to be Indian; she just is. But she also did not choose to be naturally beautiful; she just is. Without discrimination on the basis of the superficial traits that make a model a model, she would be just another face among three billion women. She would not be capable of earning a living with her looks if not for the fact that people often judge others on the basis of superficial physical traits and like to look at physically attractive people. This discrimination is her bread and butter; she benefits directly from these superficial judgments, since her appearance puts her in a superior position compared to most other women. Though she complains of race discrimination in the present case, it is only because of similar kinds of discrimination, equally capricious, that she is special that she can be a model, and other women cannot.
The present complaint, therefore, is somewhat selective. Moreover, even race-based discrimination in modeling often cuts both ways (though it may not even out). When casting agents in a predominantly Caucasian country tell an Indian model that they love her "exotic look," that is basically code for: you are not Caucasian, and we like it! This kind of race-related discrimination is apparently perfectly fine, since we don't see any media headlines cropping up when it happens. But race-based discrimination against a non-Caucasian model! Good God! Alert the authorities! (Which, sadly, is exactly what has happened.)
One would think that a beautiful model would be aware of the fact that her career rests almost entirely on her own appearance and the superficial judgments of others. But not so. In fact, Ms. Rajandran told the media that she was shocked by the email incident. According to media reports, she "hoped that by her speaking out about it, the practice of culling models based solely on their appearance would change." Whoa, be careful there darlin' the irony meter is going berserk! This thing's about to blow!
Even leaving Ms. Rajandran aside for the moment, a cursory look at other female models leads one to the unmistakable conclusion that the entire modeling industry is built on superficial kinds of discrimination, focused on characteristics that are largely the results of unchosen genetic gifts. This means that if race discrimination in modeling is unfair, then so is the entire idea of modeling of favoring the beautiful over the ugly, the tall and thin over the short and stout, the young over the old, of favoring this "look" over that one, and so on.
Let's suppose that the offending modeling agency is correct in their assessment that the prospects for a non-Caucasian model in Perth are extremely limited. Why would this kind of race discrimination exist? Though there are certainly some people in the modeling industry who have control over the kinds of models chosen, presumably the ultimate culprit is the public, whose viewing and buying decisions determine what kind of "look" a modeling campaign needs to have in order to be successful. As Mises has noted, it is consumers, not producers, who are the ultimate decision makers in the market economy; it is not a particular modeling agency that is ultimately in control of the kinds of women who make it as models. Although they are the decision makers in many individual cases, in the long run, it is the preferences of people in the public who drive the demand for models of different kinds. If there is a preference for Caucasian models in the modeling industry, then this is most likely the result of the preferences of consumers in the public, just as is the preference for thin models over plump ones, young models over old ones, and so on.
If one has a complaint about race discrimination in modeling, then the ultimate target of that complaint is, well, basically everyone. People care about looks, and one's race and genetic lineage affect one's looks. Ms. Rajandran's deep-brown eyes, silky dark hair, light-brown skin, and long, elegant nose are all a product of her "non-Caucasian heritage," and yet these characteristics may well have been responsible for booking her some of her modeling gigs, and putting her image in front of thousands of gawking men the world over.
There's race discrimination in modeling? Wow, no kidding!
If you realize both parties in Washington think that our money is theirs and you trust them to do the wrong thing, this list is for you.
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The Austrian Schools Commandments plus :From : link
1) You cannot spend your way out of a recession
2) You cannot regulate the economy into oblivion and expect it to function
3) You cannot tax people and businesses to the point of near slavery and expect them to keep producing
4) You cannot create an abundance of money out of thin air without making all that paper worthless
5) The government cannot make up for rising unemployment by just hiring all the out of work people to be bureaucrats or send them unemployment checks forever
6) You cannot live beyond your means indefinitely
7) The economy must actually produce something others are willing to buy
8) Every government bureaucrat should keep the following motto in mind when attempting to influence the economy: First, do no harm!
9) Central bank-supported fractional reserve banking is an economically distorting, ethically questionable activity. In particular, no government should ever do anything to save any bank from the full consequences of a bank run, no matter what the short-term consequences.
10) Gold is Gods money.
1) Businesses don't hire workers just because of demand for products or services, they hire because it makes them money. Sorry to have to state the obvious.
2) Government spending without taxing is still redistribution
3) Taking one man's money and giving it to another is not a job.
4) Paul Krugman and Bernake have been wrong about everything, as well as the other best and brightest Keynesian's who have been fixing our economy for over a decade.
5) Republicans in the minority (esp out of the White House) act like Republicans, in the majority they act like Democrats .
Equity bubble rules:
1)If something goes up too fast, it is going down faster,
2) By the time it looks like everybody is getting rich, its too late, stay out!
3) To get rich you have to get in early start of recovery and get out at the first really 'bad' news, and ignore the experts that claim that they will stop the next crash(our buddy Bernake.).
4) Don't invest money you will probably need, or worse money you don't really have.
Example in a Maryland county :
In Prince Georges County, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, occupation, marital status, political opinion, personal appearance, physical or mental handicap, or sexual orientation .
Maryland example link
My suggestion to Ms. Razmataz is that she go to India and try out to be Ms. New Deli. She might just win there.
Of course if an Australian tried to win Ms. New Deli(catessen), she would be laughed off the subcontinent.
I wish they had been that honest with me when I sent in my photo resume instead of just sending me to the freak show at traveling circus where I got turned down...
She looks gorgeous.
But If I’m an advertiser and looking to gain market share in a certain demographic, I would choose those who I would want to represent my product accordingly.
Sometimes the truth is unpleasant, but you cannot force someone to hire you for a marketing campaign, when you are not representative of the target audience.
She should move to NYC or LA, she could work practically every day.
Have you heard of any famous Maryland modeling agencies? Neither have I.
She has Marty Feldman eyes. o><O
Maryland lives off the milk of the Federal government, it doesnt need Model agencies. They are hiring, building houses. Taxpayers havent figured it out yet that they are losing their job, house while DC, MD and Northern VA party. .
She looks just as caucasian as any Italian, many French, Greek, Spanish or Portugese. As a matter of fact, I would be proud to add her name to the front pages of my Bible.
LOL! Good one.
My understanding is that Indians, although not "white", are indeed Caucasian. Caucasians can be dark-skinned.
There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.
“My understanding is that Indians, although not “white”, are indeed Caucasian. Caucasians can be dark-skinned.”
That’s my understanding too.
It has nothing to do with skin color, but hair structure.
Bitter much? I live in Maryland, in Montgomery County, and people here are losing their jobs and houses here just as they are doing elsewhere. I haven't noticed anybody getting a new job either. Nor have I seen new housing construction; developments seem to have come to a standstill. There are new beggars on the street corners, the food banks are denuded almost as soon as the doors open, and a guy in my neighborhood killed himself because he was getting foreclosed on. It's not like Detroit, but when you talk about Maryland and NoVa partying, I don't know what you're talking about.
Since Noah's Ark landed atop Mt. Ararat which are in or near the Caucasus Mountains, I suppose we're all Caucasian in the sense that we're descended from one of Noah's three sons, Ham (dark skinned), Shem (light skinned) or Japeth (in between).
It has been forty years since I studied all this (at the library, not in school) but the books I was reading then showed three major classifications, CaucaSOID, MongoLOID and NegROID. Caucasoid included all whom we currently refer to as “Caucasian” as well as people from India, Australian aborigines and the semitic peoples. That is not to say that Caucasoid is the same as Caucasian but Indians and Danes do belong to the same large grouping. At that time these groupings were based mainly on differences in bone structure and had little or nothing to do with skin color. Most people would assume that Aussie aborigines are Negroid but not so according to the books I studied.