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Seventeen Vows To Stop Airbrushing Models In Response To A Very Enterprising 14-Year-Old

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seventeenJulia 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.

(photo: plus.google.com)

16 Comments

  1. Elena

    July 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Good for you, Julia!

  2. Julie

    July 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    This is great to hear! As a first-time-new-mom of a little girl, the thought has crossed my mind about how the media is going to affect her life as she ages and grows. She’s only 3 months old now, but hopefully *maybe* by the time she’s old enough to read these magazines, they’ll have done away with the airbrushing all together. I know I grew up with some pretty severe body image issues and the models we see in these kinds of spreads definitely had a hand in that. It’s good to see that there are people out there trying to get this moving in the right direction!

  3. Naideen

    July 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

    What happens when the magazine can’t get anyone to pose for a spread that is un-photoshopped?

    • Guest

      July 7, 2012 at 2:18 am

      Yes, the crushing shortage of teen models wanting to appear in Seventeen is a pressing one.

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  6. Lisap

    July 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I don’t normally get too concerned with this type of thing and feel a lot of it falls on parent’s shoulders; I think there is nothing wrong with Barbie, for example, I grew up loving them but full well understanding that she was a doll and not a real person.

    BUT, I truly wish this practice had been in existence in my teen years. My mother was not of a generation that had air brushing and really didn’t keep up with the teen magazines we read anyway. I remember my sisters and friends and I going through YM and drawing all over the ads because we were frustrated KNOWING they weren’t “real” photos but not being able to do anything about it or point to a photo and say “OK, this is what the raw version is like. See, she has a mole on her neck too.”

    • Be

      July 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Forgive me, but I must show my shock that anyone remembers YM.

  7. koolchicken

    July 6, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Does the spread have to feature models, or can it just be of expensive clothes? What about hair, hand, or foot models? Can the untouched feature be on home manicures? This only works if the entire magazine is unedited.

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