Looks like real teens can make a huge difference when they speak up for what they believe in. Back in April, a blogger for SPARK, a girl-fueled activist movement protesting the sexualization of girls, Julia Bluhm, started a Change.org petition that asked Seventeen's Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket to publish one spread each month of unaltered pictures. 85,000 signatures later, Shoket called a meeting with Julia. Now, the EIC has taken a bold step ...
She had the entire staff of the magazine sign an eight-point pact, which includes a pledge to "never change girls' body or face shapes" and will only include images of "real girls and models who are healthy." They vowed to "celebrate every kind of beauty" with a variety of body types, skin tones, heights, and hair textures. Victory!
Granted, it sounds like some elements will still end up getting tweaked (it is still a glossy mag after all), but Shoket & Co. seem to want to be more transparent going forward. For instance, teens will be able to read details of some photo shoots on the mag's Tumblr site, describing what elements of photos are changed before they go to print (like that they brushed out a piece of flyaway hair or a fold in a piece of clothing). Awesome!
Really makes me want to stand up and cheer for Bluhm and the SPARK crew, who really took Seventeen to task. They could've been intimidated, thought that the leading mainstream mag for their peers was too big a monster to take on, but no -- they went for it, and look at the amazing results! Not only have they stood up from themselves, but for all teens who deserve better than to be perpetually subjected to unrealistic standards of beauty. With hope, this development is something that can will both heal and bolster many young women's self-esteem and body image.
Even Katie Couric is pleased, tweeting that she's "happy to see Seventeen mag is going anti-airbrush, hope more continue to follow." And therein lies the biggest hurdle we have going forward ... I too hope other magazines -- for teens and adults -- quickly follow suit.
Do you agree it will help young women's self-image to see more realistic, healthy girls on the pages of Seventeen?
Image via Seventeen.com