New research has revealed that models feel lonely and unhappy with their perfect bodies and huge piles of money. Hear that? It’s the world’s skinniest violin.
Models feel like clothes horses stripped of their autonomy and happiness by a lonely life strutting the catwalk, new research has revealed.
A London study has found that models have poorer mental health, and lower life satisfaction and psychological fulfilment than people in other careers.
Despite being icons of beauty, those in the glamorous profession felt less satisfied and more isolated than their peers working in ordinary office jobs.
A psychologist says the results prove women should stop striving for so-called physical perfection, because even those that have it aren’t happy.
"There’s clearly no point in trying to look perfect," says Professor Jane Ussher, a women’s health expert from the University of Western Sydney.
"These people apparently fit the ideal but they’re objectified every day, judged by how beautiful they are and what their bodies are like, and they’re not happy."
Psychologists at London’s City University questioned 56 models, almost two-thirds of them female, and 53 non-models. They also enlisted a further 35 female models to compare their mental health with women from a design office and literary agency.
The results, published during London Fashion Week in the Journal of Positive Psychology, showed that models felt their lives were out of their control, and that their bodies were their only aspect of their lives they had power over.
This fuelled unhealthy physical obsessions and low self-esteem.
Prof Ussher said these women were an extreme example of the impact of objectifying the female body.
"If we treat women just as objects and we judge them on their looks daily, that becomes their life, so it’s not surprising they feel like this," she said.
"They suffer incredible anxiety because they can’t stop trying to control their bodies with dieting, exercise and purging."
She said the twist was that most ordinary women believed models felt really good about themselves.
"But they don’t. Looking perfect, as far as society deems it, doesn’t make them happy, so we shouldn’t strive for it."
A spokesman for Australian Fashion Week, which starts at the end of April, said the industry was committed to working with models who were healthy in both mind and body.
"We are very fortunate (in Australia) that we do have a reputation for very healthy-looking and healthy-acting models," spokesman Graeme Lewsey said.