Maybe it will take an awesome girl to get people to think differently about how absurd and damaging it is that we live in a world dominated by photoshopped pictures. We never get to see anyone real, so we have no idea what real looks like. We all know that looking at women who look unrealistic — a recent reminder is the HBO ads for Girls which total photoshops Lena Dunham to an absurd degree — makes women more insecure about how they look and also makes try and look like people who are fake. Which we all know is impossible.
14-year-old Maine teenager Julia Bluhm had enough of the girls around her thinking they were fat for no reason other than the images they saw in magazines so she took matters into her own hands and started a petition — which already has over 56,000 signatures — to Seventeen magazine asking for more realistic images of girls. She is asking the magazine to “commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month.”
We all know the problem is not just Seventeen. It’s everywhere. But raising awareness and talking about it and getting others — including the boys in her class — to think about this issue is a great way to start.
Julia and her mom came to NY last week to protest outside the offices of Seventeen against their practices of photoshopping. The protest got picked up in the media so much so that the editors at Seventeen — who were a bit upset that their magazine was singled out for protest — felt compelled to engage with the protest and so Julia got to meet the editor in chief Ann Shocket.
What this should remind all of us is the power these magazines still have and the fact that many girls, even those with a heightened awareness, are reading them, and we also should remember that they have the potential to be tools for change.
Thank you Julia for getting people talking about this.