These days, models are proving that they’re more than just idealized versions of us regular folk and are using their substantial platforms to spread the word about social, environmental and political issues. From #BlackLivesMatter to Cecil the Lion, models are showing that they, too, can discuss problems that go deeper than which shade of bronzer best matches your tan.
WhoSay executive Rob Gregory says that this influx in social commentary comes in part from the models’ fans, who actually care what they think on the big issues. “They want to know the social stance of the people who give them their style cues,” he told The New York Times. “They expect them to have a point of view on important issues. These things now come with the territory.” Models are even being encouraged by their agencies to speak up on controversial topics. It makes their models look more well-rounded and in touch with regular people.
While it is nice that models are embracing activism, we can’t help but be a little suspicious of the reasons behind it all. Of course models should be able to speak up about the things that matter to them, but it does seem a little sinister when you’ve got agents encouraging them to do so. This is not to say models don’t bring awareness, don’t help raise money for various worthy causes or don’t actually care about the issues they discuss on social media. But when hashtag activism (which can be problematic if you’re not actually doing anything about the issue you’re tweeting about) becomes part of an image in a world where everything is about appearances, maybe speaking out is just another version of an Instagram filter.