When Julia Bluhm decided to protest Seventeen's use of Photoshop, there were plenty of skeptical onlookers. The widespread use of airbrushing in magazines, particularly those aimed at women, is the media world's worst-kept secret. Could a 14-year-old activist and a few blogger friends actually convince a major publication to change its ways?
In fact they could. Several weeks after Bluhm published her Change.org petition against Seventeen and hand-delivered the signatures to the magazine's headquarters, Seventeen agreed not only to stop altering models' bodies but to start a "Body Peace Treaty" whereby staff members vow to make positive body image a priority in Seventeen's pages.
With that success, SPARK Summit has set its sights on a new publication: Teen Vogue. This week Carina Cruz and Emma Stydahar, two SPARK Summit bloggers, created a Change.org petition entitled "Teen Vogue: Give Us Images of Real Girls!" asking Teen Vogue to follow Seventeen's lead. Cruz and Stydahar explain their stance:
Teen girl-targeting magazines bombard young women with images that have been distorted and digitally altered with programs including Photoshop. These photoshopped images are extremely dangerous to girls like us who read them, because they keep telling us: you are not skinny enough, pretty enough or perfect enough. Well, neither are the girls in the pictures! As teen girls, we know first hand how hurtful the photoshopped pictures in these magazines can be for our body image and self-esteem.
The petition has already garnered about 15,000 signatures, but Teen Vogue has not yet responded. (According to Buzzfeed Shift, editor-in-chief Amy Astley is out of town and thus has not yet commented.) Stydahar tells Buzzfeed Shift that if Teen Vogue doesn't get on board with their demand "to make a public statement promising to not digitally alter the face or body sizes of ANY model who appears in their magazine," the mag should expect a protest similar to the one mounted outside Seventeen.
Which, as we now know, was highly effective.
Do you think Teen Vogue needs to crack down on their airbrushing and show more real girls? And do you think they'll actually do it? Read Cruz and Stydahar's petition, sign it if you so choose and tell us what you think in the comments!
See celebs who have gone Photoshop-free...
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