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Teen Petitions Seventeen Magazine to Show Unaltered Photos of ‘Real’ Girls

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Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Seventeen magazine is a Bible to many adolescent girls, so the words and images contained within the pages carry serious influence. That’s why Maine teen Julia Bluhm is petitioning the publication to include at least one unaltered — as in no Photoshop, no airbrushing — spread in each issue moving forward.

In the petition, which you can view (and sign) at Change.org, Bluhm, 14, demands to “see regular girls that look like me in the magazine that’s supposed to be for me.”

She also states that she wants to take the power back from words like “pretty,” which double for “skinny.” She wants to educate fellow readers, many of which don’t realize they are looking at fake photos that have been treated.

It’s a bold and informed stance for such a young and impressionable teen to make, but given the self-esteem issues that are prevalent among teenage girls, she feels the need to lobby for change.

The petition is below.

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. As part of SPARK Movement, a girl-fueled, national activist movement, I’ve been fighting to stop magazines, toy companies, and other big businesses from creating products, photo spreads and ads that hurt girls’ and break our self-esteem. With SPARK, I’ve learned that we have the power to fight back.

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?

[Change]

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