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14-year-old Petitions 'Seventeen' Magazine: Show Real Girls

Some number of years ago, I was a teenager up in arms about the unrealistic depiction of girls in Seventeen magazine. This disgust was part of what motivated me to create gURL.com with my equally fed-up friends. One of the awesomest things about the interwebs is the explosion of voices for all kinds of audiences. The mainstream print magazine no longer reigns supreme; girls can now find a whole range of role models and inspirations online. But maybe that’s not good enough.

14-year-old Julia Bluhm does not want to turn to alternatives. She wants change from within, and she is taking action to try to get it. Julia has had enough of the perfect images of girls on the pages of Seventeen magazine. She thinks these images are damaging to girls’ body image and self-esteem. And she is asking the editor of Seventeen magazine to at least supplant these pictures with images of real, un-photoshopped girls, to help the magazine’s readers stop comparing themselves to unrealistic ideals.

Read Julia’s petition after the jump. She’s already close to her goal — over 13,000 signatures so far.  Will you help her reach it?

 

“Girls want to be accepted, appreciated, and liked. And when they don’t fit the criteria, some girls try to “fix” themselves. This can lead to eating disorders, dieting, depression, and low self esteem.

I’m in a ballet class with a bunch of high-school girls. On a daily basis I hear comments like: “It’s a fat day,” and “I ate well today, but I still feel fat.” Ballet dancers do get a lot of flack about their bodies, but it’s not just ballet dancers who feel the pressure to be “pretty”. It’s everyone. 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 photoshopped, air-brushed, 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.

That’s why I’m asking Seventeen Magazine to commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month. I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that’s supposed to be for me.

For the sake of all the struggling girls all over America, who read Seventeen and think these fake images are what they should be, I’m stepping up. I know how hurtful these photoshopped images can be. I’m a teenage girl, and I don’t like what I see. None of us do. Will you join us by signing this petition and asking Seventeen to take a stand as well and commit to one unaltered photo spread a month?”

I am skeptical of the magazine industry’s interests in general (girls with low self esteem are more likely to want to buy things to fix themselves, for example). But it makes me really excited that a girl can register her discontent with the media she is being fed in such a powerful way. When I was reading Seventeen,we complained about it a lot, but felt powerless to change it. Have we reached a point where the voice of the audience will actually be heard by the media creators?

Add your name to Julia’s Change.org petition here.

 

 

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