Fierce Teen Fights 'Seventeen' Magazine's Phony Models With Awesome Petition

seventeen magazine coverAs a tween, there was almost nothing I loved more than magazines. I read all the usual early '90s suspects ... Sassy (then JANE), YM, and of course, Seventeen. I caught hell from classmates for bringing Seventeen onto the playground as a fifth grader. Even if I secretly thought I was leagues beyond my peers, I was also sadly ahead when it comes to something most young women grapple with at some point: Being totally inundated with false images of beauty that can strip away at your body image and self-esteem.

Times have changed since then, but the magazines haven't. And fierce teens of 2012 are fighting back. A blogger for SPARK, a girl-fueled activist movement protesting the sexualization of girls, Julia Bluhm, has started a petition that asks Seventeen's Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket to publish one spread each month of unaltered pictures. How hard could that be?

Julia writes, "I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that's supposed to be for me." And her colleagues over at SPARK agree. Fellow SPARK blogger Izzy Labbe agrees. Labbe writes that it isn't too much to ask for "a magazine that is supposed to be a leader in the teen world of beauty, inspiration and fashion." They're just asking for a focus on real girls who already ARE beautiful -- genuinely.

Bluhm spoke with us exclusively about why she started her petition:

I want girls to be able to look at PhotoShopped pictures and be able to say, "You're fake, and I'm not!" and celebrate their own true beauty, instead of being sad because they don't fit the narrow mold of beauty that the media creates.

So awesome! She's totally got her head on straight, and to know that she's invested in opening fellow teens' eyes and bolstering their self-image is truly inspiring. Thankfully, there's proof she's already making quite the impression and isn't alone in her belief system. Check out some of these other bold beliefs from a couple of her SPARK teammates ...

Maya Brown, 17:

[Girls] see the women in ads as beautiful, and they want to look like them. They learn that in order to be beautiful and attractive, they must look a certain way. Not only is it damaging to have these images out there, but the girls who see them can never actually achieve this high standard of beauty.

Carina Cruz, 16:

'These women aren't real' is what I have always been told as a struggling overweight preteen wishing to be like the girl on the front cover. ... This is exactly what I have been telling myself for the past few years and what I will continue to tell my peers, who are struggling with the same issues.

Major props to these bold young women! I know they are already well on their way to being a positive influence on their peers. But with our help, they could also re-model (literally, ha) the future of Seventeen magazine -- which would be a major victory for our daughters.

How awesome are these girls? Will you sign the petition?


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nonmember avatar Dani

I read magazines as a teen, and never had a problem with self esteem. Why because I knew that the girl/women in the pictures are models. They are paid to look pretty, and look good in clothes. Also wouldn't the fact that the models are photoshopped make you feel a little better, I mean, it means they are not perfect either.

nonmember avatar Samantha

I think that it is a fantastic idea. I didn't know about photoshop when I was a pre-teen/early teen (I was a poor kid without cable or internet.) I thought people actually looked that good; it didn't help my already low self-esteem.

Mindi Brizendine

I think it's great. I would love to see real women on a magazine for a change. These girls are awesome.

nonmember avatar A

If you arent aware of Photo Shop, then you are probably oblivious to many other things in life as well.

When have you ever seen someone that has no pores?

Magazines dont bother me with their ads. I have seen papparazi pics of the same people that are used in ads.

mamaw... mamawidup

Yes, these girls have a realistic view on life. But I don't think it should be bad for kids to look up to sucessful actresses. As long as Lindsey Lohan isn't on the cover of seventeen, I don't necessarily have a problem with my daughter idolozing a celeb!

PonyC... PonyChaser

I love this idea. I think it should extend to women's magazines, too. I don't think we should completely strip the world of images of beauty, and cosmetic ads certainly have their place, as does airbrushing out a zit here and a scratch there on an otherwise lovely face.

Where I have the problem is when they take weight off of an already in-shape actress/model. Remember Faith Hill a couple years ago, on the cover of some magazine? The woman is lovely, in shape, and rather thin. But they photoshopped off an additional several pounds, and even removed an arm. Ladies like Faith, who are aging gracefully and beautifully, are having that taken from them. They appear to have no wrinkles, and yet, you see them in person (or on a tv interview) and you're shocked at how different they look. It obscures reality.

We have gotten to a place where anything less than absolute perfection is unacceptable, at least in women. I talk with friends of my son - little girls in the 6-10 age range - and they're already telling me how ugly they are, how they're too fat, how their legs aren't long enough or their hair isn't right. Yeah, part of that comes from their parents. But the rest comes from the incessant barrage of media images telling them that they're not good enough. And it's time it stopped.

butte... butterflyfreak

Well said, PonyChaser! My daughter is almost 5 and I worry about this. I have struggled with my weight most of my life. My husband is also overweight. We have both been trying to get more active and get healthier but it's hard. I try not to say negative things about my body around my daughter, so I think that will help.

Abdul Samad

The model and photography are striking and very artistic.That really is some amazing modeling and she does your jewellery justice. amazingly beautiful photos! congrats, how lucky you are, this involves a lot of work!dubai photographers

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