Eighth grader Julia Bluhm was tired of hearing her friends in ballet class complain about being fat, and knew that they were basing their self-conscious opinions on altered magazine images of themselves. So she started a petition asking Seventeen magazine to stop photoshopping the women in their pages. Julia asked for one unaltered image of a “regular girl” in every issue.
“For the sake of all the struggling girls all over America, who read Seventeen and think these fake images are what they should be, I’m stepping up,” Julia wrote. “I know how hurtful these photoshopped images can be. I’m a teenage girl, and I don’t like what I see. None of us do.”
This inspires me. The fact that a 12 year old girl not only has the presence of mind to know that something is wrong with girls her age complaining about being fat, and that they were creating their standard of beauty from the altered images of teen magazines shows that there is a growing awareness of the damage that can be caused by media and print. The greatest inspiration comes from the strength that it took for her to take action against it, and getting results in the form a Body Peace Treaty.
Today, with the petition at more than 81,000 signatures, Seventeen responded — and went even further than what Julia had requested. The magazine committed to Julia and organizers at SPARK a Movement to represent a range of women of all shapes and sizes in its magazine — every month, every model — without any photoshopping of their bodies (they will still be using photoshop to take wrinkles out of clothes and hide flyaway hairs):
Win! After over 84,000 people signed Julia’s petition and she and her fellow SPARK Summit activists hand-delivered the petitions to the executive editor of Seventeen, the magazine has made a commitment to not alter the body size or face shape of the girls and models in the magazine and to feature a diverse range of beauty in its pages.
Julia’s message to all her supporters: “Seventeen listened! They’re saying they won’t use photoshop to digitally alter their models! This is a huge victory, and I’m so unbelievably happy. Another petition is being started by SPARK activists Emma and Carina, targeting Teen Vogue and I will sign it. If we can be heard by one magazine, we can do it with another. We are sparking a change!”
As Julia notes, the fight isn’t over. While Seventeen has agreed, other teen magazines have not. Change.org has a petition up asking Teen Vogue to follow suit.
Please click on the link and sign the petition, let’s get this movement moving!