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Teen Girl Petitions Seventeen Magazine to Stop Airbrushing Models

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I'm going to do some research on Spark and see if I can get my 15 yo DD interested in it. I think this is a great idea and would love to see her be successful.  I'm so sick of reading about such and such an actress did x, y and z to look awesome in her skin tight costume.  Or such and such an actress is back to pre-pregnancy size a month after giving birth. Maybe my DD's generation (she is 15) can demand change and actually succeed.  

Teen Girl Petitions Seventeen Magazine to Stop Airbrushing Models

By Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger

Julia Bluhm, 14, is an eighth grader from rural Waterville, Maine. She loves ballet and attends class six days a week. She is also gaining national attention as an activist who is challenging the media to take responsibility for the way it warps girls' self-esteem.

Related: Model Coco Rocha Slams Retouched Cover

"I've always noticed how a lot of the images in magazines look photo-shopped," Bluhm tells Yahoo! Shine. She wants all girls to feel comfortable in their own skin. "Girls shouldn't compare themselves to pictures in magazines," she says. "Because they are fake."

Eleven days ago, she launched a petition to ask one of her favorite magazines, Seventeen, to feature one un-retouched photo shoot a month. "They have already done a lot to help girls improve their body image. Their Body Peace feature is great. I thought that they could take it one step further with an unaltered photo spread." This morning, she is leading a protest outside of Seventeen's offices in Manhattan which will include a mock fashion shoot."I'm a little nervous. But excited."

Related: Stars Without Photoshop

Bluhm started blogging about girls and self-esteem a year ago when she joined SPARK, a non-profit organization for 13 to 22 year-olds that calls itself a "girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media." One of SPARKS' recent accomplishments was to get a meeting to with top LEGO executives to discuss, among other issues, the LEGO Friends line of toys which they say are demeaning to girls. However, the petition is, as Bluhm puts it, "my first big action."

Her petition on change.org reads:

"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. They're often photo-shopped, airbrushed, edited to look thinner, and to appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine probably looks a lot different in real life....I've been fighting to stop magazines, toy companies, and other big businesses from creating products, photo spreads and ads that hurt girls and break our self-esteem....I've learned that we have the power to fight back."

The American Medical Association (AMA) backs up Bluhm's assertions. In June 2011, they issued a press release stating, "A large body of literature links exposure to media-propagated images of unrealistic body image to eating disorders and other child and adolescent health problems." Board member Barbara L. McAneny, MD, added, "We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software."

Related: Life Transitions May Trigger Eating Disorders

So far, in the United States, only Glamour magazine has responded to the AMA's call to action. In its March 2012 issue, the popular women's magazine told readers, "And while our policy has always been not to alter a woman's body shape, we'll also be asking photographers we hire not to manipulate body size in the photos we commission, even if a celebrity or model requests a digital diet (alas, it happens)."

Some stars are also refusing to "go under the brush." Notably, Jessica Simpson appeared without makeup or retouching for a Marie Claire photo shoot in 2010 and more recently, actress Cate Blanchett revealed her natural 42-year-old face for the online magazine morentelligentlife.com.

VIDEO: Turkish Fashion Magazine Reaches out to Veiled Women

As of today, May 2, Bluhm's petition has nearly 24 thousand signatures. She is surprised how quickly it's taken off. "I didn't think it would get this big," she laughs. Even though she hasn't quite reached her goal of 25 thousand signatures, editors are already listening. Bluhm says Anne Shoket, the magazine's Editor-in-Chief, has reached out and asked to see the petition. Fittingly, the current cover features Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss Everdeen, the ultimate girl-power heroine, in the box office smash "The Hunger Games."

Meanwhile, the eighth grader from Maine plans to enjoy her first trip to New York City. "I want to do some sight seeing with my mom who is here with me," she says. "Maybe visit the Empire State Building."

http://shine.yahoo.com/beauty/teen-girl-petitions-seventeen-magazine-stop-airbrushing-models-130000558.html

by on May. 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM
Replies (11-20):
DivingDiva
by Gold Member on May. 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I think it's great when kids get involved with things.  However, I'm happy with my DD (11 years old) just understanding that what those magazines show is not reality.  I also want her to realize that physical appearance is not the most important thing about those models, her, or anyone.  I would rather have her focus her attention on other things than the models in a Seventeen magazine.  So, while I would not discourage her from starting something like this, I would not necessarily encourage her in that direction either.  My DD's passion for changing things lies more along the lines of writing letters to the school about why they should not do balloon launches anyway. 

dollwith4
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

I think it is wonderful this young lady is doing this!

I hope she gets all the praise and support she deserves. I also hope other young girls see it and join in!


~When the Government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right, is of no consequence!~

punky3175
by Punky on May. 2, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Great points.   

Quoting DivingDiva:

I think it's great when kids get involved with things.  However, I'm happy with my DD (11 years old) just understanding that what those magazines show is not reality.  I also want her to realize that physical appearance is not the most important thing about those models, her, or anyone.  I would rather have her focus her attention on other things than the models in a Seventeen magazine.  So, while I would not discourage her from starting something like this, I would not necessarily encourage her in that direction either.  My DD's passion for changing things lies more along the lines of writing letters to the school about why they should not do balloon launches anyway. 

 

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2012 at 3:35 PM
1 mom liked this
Good for her! I have taught my daughter not to believe everything she reads or sees. She knows that models are airbrushed and photoshopped. She knows celebrities look quite "normal" in real life and have the same issues like acne that everyone else does. She has great self esteem and is happy with herself. She read an article on Jennifer Lawrence in Seventeen and told me how much she admired what she had to say in the article.
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btamilee
by Silver Member on May. 2, 2012 at 5:29 PM

I am very proud of this young lady......being that this young lady is from my State of Maine, it makes me even more proud that she took a stand!!!   Our local media has been all over this...

MissElissa21
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2012 at 5:40 PM

My daughter is only 6 so she hasn't thought about this yet, but I am curious about the answers from those with teenage girls. I was also thinking back to what might have worked when I was that age, but I didn't have image issues, so fingers crossed I have the right answer if the issue ever comes up.

punky3175
by Punky on May. 2, 2012 at 5:47 PM
I think the best thing you can do is not have image issues. My daughter has never heard me put myself down. When I talk about eating better or working out its for health reasons. I don't stand in front of a mirror talking about how fat I am either. I think this has helped her. Of course she's also skinny as a rail right now.

Quoting MissElissa21:

My daughter is only 6 so she hasn't thought about this yet, but I am curious about the answers from those with teenage girls. I was also thinking back to what might have worked when I was that age, but I didn't have image issues, so fingers crossed I have the right answer if the issue ever comes up.

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PamR
by Pam on May. 2, 2012 at 7:23 PM

I think it's a great idea.  I don't hold out much  hope that the magazine will do it, though.

MissElissa21
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2012 at 7:31 PM
That's how it is here, I do yoga because I like it. Its a plus that its exercise. We already eat healthy and she knows its for health reasons I don't have cable and we don't get magazines or even read them in the line at the store so I don't think she has anything to compare herself too. I remember reading those magazins when I was younger, but I don't think they were heavily airbrushed yet. I do respect the art of airbrushing, though. Some people are very skilled at their touch up job.

Quoting punky3175:

I think the best thing you can do is not have image issues. My daughter has never heard me put myself down. When I talk about eating better or working out its for health reasons. I don't stand in front of a mirror talking about how fat I am either. I think this has helped her. Of course she's also skinny as a rail right now.



Quoting MissElissa21:

My daughter is only 6 so she hasn't thought about this yet, but I am curious about the answers from those with teenage girls. I was also thinking back to what might have worked when I was that age, but I didn't have image issues, so fingers crossed I have the right answer if the issue ever comes up.

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la_bella_vita
by Bella on May. 2, 2012 at 11:45 PM

 Good for her

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