NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 14-year-old is going to war with Seventeen Magazine.
Julia Bluhm wants the magazine to stop doctoring photos.
Bluhm, an eight grader from Waterville, Maine, created an online petition calling on the magazine to have one “unaltered — as in 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. I wanted to help stop it and do something to show girls that they don’t need to look like these pictures to be considered beautiful,” she told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.
“I’m in a ballet class with a bunch of high-school girls,” wrote Bluhm in her petition. “On a daily basis I hear comments like ‘It’s a fat day,’ and ‘I ate well today, but I still feel fat.'”
“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?” Bluhm wrote. “Here’s what lots of girls don’t know. Those ‘pretty’ women that we see in magazines are fake. They are often Photoshopped, air-brushed, edited to look thinner and to appear like they have perfect skin.”
While kids are being bombarded by what they see in ad campaigns and magazines, what they hear at home hits just as hard. Child psychologist Dr. Jennifer Harstein said parents obsessing about their own diet and how they look is often passed down.
“Your kids are absorbing that as young as 2 and 3. So you want to really start to teach them what’s healthy. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy necessarily. In fact, it often doesn’t,” she said.
To draw attention to her campaign, Bluhm held a mock photo shoot outside the offices of the magazine in Midtown. Several teens took photos while holding dry erase boards featuring messages to Seventeen.
Bluhm’s online petition has drawn more than 25,000 signatures.
To read Bluhm’s petition, click here.
A Seventeen spokesperson said the magazine has taken notice of Bluhm’s petition. The magazine’s Editor-In-Chief also agreed to meet with her.
“We’re proud of Julia for being so passionate about an issue – it’s exactly the kind of attitude we encourage in our readers – so we invited her to our office to meet with editor in chief Ann Shoket this morning. They had a great discussion, and we believe that Julia left understanding that Seventeen celebrates girls for being their authentic selves, and that’s how we present them. We feature real girls in our pages and there is no other magazine that highlights such a diversity of size, shape, skin tone and ethnicity,” the magazine’s spokesperson said.
What do you think of Bluhm’s petition? Should teen magazines stop altering photos? Take our poll, and sound off in our comments section below.