When I was 12 years-old, I went to my school’s library and found the mother load of Seventeen Magazines. This was a huge deal to me because they were free and my favorite magazine. Sometimes, my mom bought me an issue and I’d pore over each page making it last for days. I’d take in all of the pictures, keeping up on all the latest fashion that I couldn’t afford and giggling over the embarrassing stories girls would write in.
It wasn’t until I was much older, I saw how Seventeen on up to Vogue had effects on my life. I didn’t know the girl models I fawned over could have been “fake.” Now that women know that airbrushing and photoshopping is considered “business as usual,” we’re a little peeved. This image that some of us strive for is quite an illusion!
Where we might have felt helpless against the all-powerful media, 14 year old Julia Bluhm, from Waterville, Maine was not going to take it lying down. This year, Bluhm put together an online petition for the Hearst magazine giant to stop altering the images of young ladies in their publication.
She got together more than 70,000 petitions and took them to the New York City headquarters to meet with Ann Shoket (editor-in-chief) At first, Bluhm’s petition was denied. Shoket felt that Seventeen wasn’t quite as bad as other magazines, why should they be singled out? But with a little more ruckus and press, they buckled under the heat.
This month Seventeen has released a statement, a mandate rather, that they “never have, never will,” alter their models. Shoket and all editors of the magazines have signed a Body Peace Treaty:
It’s a nice gesture and I hope that Seventeen keeps up its promise for more transparency. I’m proud of these women speaking up for themselves and for us. I admire that kind of “put your money where your mouth is” kind of attitude. The next magazine being protested? Teen Vogue. Good luck, girls!