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Sign petition against use of photoshop in Seventeen magazine

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Naomi Wilcox
WVoN co-editor

A 14 year old American girl, Julia Bluhm, launched a petition last week asking US teen mag Seventeen to curb its use of photoshop.

In it she wrote: ”I’m asking Seventeen Magazine to commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month. I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that’s supposed to be for me.”

Bluhm’s call has clearly struck a chord – at the time of writing the petition had attracted just over 48,000 signatures.

On Wednesday she took it to Seventeen Magazine’s New York headquarters and staged a protest outside the building, holding a sign that read ‘The magazine’s for me, make it look like me!’.

She was invited into the magazine’s offices to meet with Seventeen’s Editor-in-Chief, Ann Shoket, which released a statement saying:

“We’re proud of Julia for being so passionate about an issue – it’s exactly the kind of attitude we encourage in our readers – so we invited her to our office to meet with editor in chief Ann Shoket this morning.

“They had a great discussion, and we believe that Julia left understanding that Seventeen celebrates girls for being their authentic selves, and that’s how we present them.”

Whether Bluhm was convinced remains to be seen, but her rationale on the Change.org petition is clear:

“Girls want to be accepted, appreciated, and liked. And when they don’t fit the criteria, some girls try to “fix” themselves. This can lead to eating disorders, dieting, depression, and low self esteem.

“I’m in a ballet class with a bunch of high-school girls. On a daily basis I hear comments like: “It’s a fat day,” and “I ate well today, but I still feel fat.”

“Ballet dancers do get a lot of flack about their bodies, but it’s not just ballet dancers who feel the pressure to be “pretty”. It’s everyone.

“To girls today, the word “pretty” means skinny and blemish-free. Why is that, when so few girls actually fit into such a narrow category? It’s because the media tells us that “pretty” girls are impossibly thin with perfect skin.

“Here’s what lots of girls don’t know. Those “pretty women” that we see in magazines are fake.”

Although the use of photoshop in fashion magazines has become very common, with models often having their bodies and faces digitally ‘improved’ post-shoot, some magazines are bucking the trend.

Following a recent poll of readers for Glamour, it pledged ‘not to manipulate body size in the photos we commission, even if a celebrity or model requests a digital diet’.

And Vogue has  just unveiled a ‘Health Initiative’ in its June edition in which it pledged to ”work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image”.

It is inspiring to hear of a young girl with so much passion and confidence, and encouraging to see the support which her cause has attracted.

It’s just a shame that she has to live in a world that makes her feel this way in the first place. It would be great if her actions help other girls her age realise, as she did ‘that we have the power to fight back’.

To sign the petition, click here.

  1. vicki wharton says:

    I think its about time we started campaigning against all advertisers and media to stop using photoshop. Its manipulative and fraudulent and car advertisers wouldn’t be allowed to show false information about their cars, so why are beauty products and fashion shoots allowed to manipulate images. I don’t think printing a disclaimer saying an image is photoshopped really addresses the problem of promoting a false image to women and girls – or boys for that matter – as the false image is the one that stays in the psyches of the audience and sends the message of ‘this is what is desireable’ – all the more damaging when its not even achieveable without a mouse and a hard drive.

  2. it is really good to know that in this generation there is a girl of her age that realize the truth about media in general

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