Seventeen magazine may have hoped to shut down 14-year-old Julia Bluhm‘s request for authentic images with a nicely worded “no,” but the conversation surrounding Photoshop is still ongoing. Even though the magazine has announced no further plans to meet with young feminist, Julia’s petition continues to grow with now over 66,000 signatures demanding one unphotoshopped photo spread a month. Seventeen‘s editor in chief famously – and laughably — refused to even admit that the publication used photoshopped images. But a former editor of the magazine has since teamed up with Julia, sharing her own story of why she eventually quit the magazine.
The Jane Dough‘s Amy Tennery reports that DeDe Lahman, a former editor at Seventeen and now bakery owner, offered the following statement asserting that girls should be better educated on how these images are manipulated:
“In an ideal world, Julia wouldn’t need to request one unaltered photo spread a month, because unaltered photos would already be the norm. However, in the glossy world of magazines, truth and beauty are not always one and the same. I think a reasonable first step for Seventeen to take toward Julia’s ultimate goal would be to do a behind-the-scenes piece about how a photo shoot comes together. After all, girls can only run the world if they’re privy to its tricks.”
Tennery added further:
Lahman says she “fought for more realistic images for our readers” while she was at Seventeen, but eventually left the industry after getting fed up with the standard of beauty peddled to readers.
“I quit and traveled nationwide, speaking about what the magazine did to make our models look perfect and how to decode the misleading advertising,” Lahman noted.
DeDe’s suggestion of a “behind-the-scenes” look is now the second suggestion in a national conversation about airbrushing and the impacts of these distorted images on young girls. So far, the publication has yet to respond to the statement, most likely wondering why the controversy has yet to subside. But with nearly 70,000 signatures, Julia seems to have organized very quickly and efficiently on an issue that rightly plagues both young girls and their parents. And the longer Seventeen refuses to address the photoshopped images or even take a metaphoric seat at the discussion, the longer their brand will seem publicly indifferent to the well-being of girls.