Agencies need to stop telling women like Coco Rocha "We don't want you to be anorexic, we just want you to look it!" Because too many of them are. In any other job, a worker who developed a serious health problem due to the job's conditions would get workers' compensation. Models get, generally speaking, fired. In any other job, if enough workers were developing the same serious health problem due to the job's conditions, there would be an outcry, and the dangerous conditions would be abolished.
I have to say that because this is a female dominated field and it bolsters the illusion of wealth and glamor, there will be few in sympathy with the author, Jezebel's Jenna's, call to model worker rights, health or safety. Much like prostitutes, models are dismissed (though better paid) as doing unnecessary work (unlike, say a coal miner who gets black-lung and deserves protection). Coal miners, prostitutes and models all deserve safe working conditions. All human beings are worthy of dignity and a shared protection under the law.
In addition to protecting the health and safety of models, we need to consider the health and safety of women and girls.
According to a study conducted by the Girl Scouts of America:
"75% rate fashion as "really important." Almost nine out of ten feel pressure to be thin. And celebrities and models influence girls' self-perceptions more than parents or friends. Obviously, conditions need to change within the fashion industry to benefit the models who live and work in an environment that can be hazardous to their health. But with fashion playing such a crucially influential role in the lives of young women, we need change — larger sample sizes, more diversity in magazines and on the runway, a greater focus on health and better eating disorder screening — for the good of all girls.
Interestingly enough, the vast majority of teenagers would also prefer to consume fashion imagery that has not been excessively Photoshopped, and to buy clothes modeled by people who aren't super-skinny. These sound like specific instructions from a key segment of the apparel market — meaning that change would not only be morally admirable, but remunerative as well. The only question, as always, is whether or not the fashion industry is listening."