14-year-old tells Seventeen to stop photoshopping models
Not everyone wants to look like the models on the cover of magazines.
Fed up with how publications digitally slice and dice women into stick figures with perfect skin, 14-year-old Julia Bluhm is petitioning Seventeen magazine to include photos of "unaltered" women in each issue.
"When we compare ourselves to pictures like on the cover of Seventeen, we think, 'Oh they're so perfect - I'll never look like them,'" Bluhm said. "I thought that if we show pictures that aren't photoshopped, they could recognize their own beauty and feel good about themselves."
She clearly isn't the only one feeling that way: Her petition, posted on Change.org a few week ago, has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures.
Photoshopping images isn't new to the beauty industry. There have been many cases of celebrities and models being airbrushed until blemish-free, toned, tanned and even digitally slimmed down.
Several studies in recent years have shown that these images have a tremendous impact on women, but the influence can be even more damaging for young women. At least 69% of girls in 5th grade to 12th grade report that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
Bluhm, a Maine native, visited New York on Wednesday to deliver her petition to Seventeen and stage a mock photo shoot in front of the magazine's offices featuring real girls. She wasjoined by four young bloggers from SPARK, a youth-driven feminist activism organization. Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket met with Bluhm to discuss the issue and accept her petition.
"We're proud of Julia for being so passionate about an issue - it's exactly the kind of attitude we encourage in our readers," said a Seventeen spokesperson. "There is no other magazine that highlights such a diversity of size, shape, skin tone and ethnicity."
Bluhm said she targeted Seventeen in particular because the magazine already sponsors several projects meant to inspire self-confidence and a positive body image in teens.
"This is a step in the right direction," said Dana Edell, Executive Director of SPARK. "We hope to eventually see magazines with all kinds of diverse body types."