Julia Bluhm, a 14-year-old kid from Maine, made it her business to get in Seventeen magazine’s face about all their rampant photoshopping of young models. In her online petition, the young lady asked that Seventeen commit to one unphotoshopped spread each issue to give readers an idea as to how altered many of the images actually are. While Seventeen is hardly alone in their airbrushing tactics, the publication wouldn’t even admit to the practice, releasing a statement touting how they “celebrate girls.” Eighty-four thousand signatures later, Seventeen magazine has finally accepted the teenager’s terms, meaning that one of the country’s leading magazines for girls is willing to address our unchecked media problem.
Julia described herself as “unbelievably happy” in a message directly to her supporters, adding that some of her colleagues will be putting the same strong arm on Teen Vogue about their images. She also got a resounding pat on the back from Gloria Steinem for her successful efforts:
“I support and congratulate Julia Bluhm, SPARK and all the girls who petitioned Seventeen,” said Gloria Steinem, co-founder of The Women’s Media Center. “They have triumphed over false standards that contribute to eating disorders and self-hatred, and made Seventeen a leader in celebrating real girls… One magazine in our corner, more to go!”
Given the deep impacts of today’s ever-increasing media on girls, particularly through photographs, decisions like that of Seventeen‘s can make all the difference. Even just one photo spread, as Julia requested, can put the many other altered images of Seventeen‘s pages into a much more appropriate and healthy context for young readers.
It’s a party worth joining, Teen Vogue.