Now this is a story about TRUE girl power! A group of teen girls gathered outside the offices of Seventeen Magazine in New York City in May to protest against their use of photoshop in their publication.
The protest was lead by 14 year old Julia Bluhm who is a regular blogger for the ‘girl-fueled’ activist group Spark Summit. She is a normal high school girl who was sick of hearing about her fellow students having ‘fat days’ and realized there was a major problem with the self-esteem of young women today.
“I’ve always just known how Photoshop can have a big effect on girls and their body image and how they feel about themselves,” Julia told The Huffington Post.
“You need to see something realistic — you need to see a reflection of what truly represents a teenage girl nowadays.”
She also recognized this unhealthy image came from the all-powerful media and decided to protest her way to the top.
She uploaded and started an online petition via Change.org called Seventeen Magazine: Give Girls Images Of Real Girls! and it wasn’t long before major blogs and PR firms got wind of her cause. It seems there really IS a need for change in our society and it takes a brave outspoken 14 year old high school girl to do it!
Seventeen magazine couldn’t ignore this cause and invited Julia to come up to their offices to meet with the Editor in Chief Ann Shoket. Clearly this was just the shake-up this magazine needed as Julia managed to convince them to commit to printing one real and unaltered photo shoot per month.
“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 said in a statement to Jezebel.
But it didn’t end there. In the July edition of the magazine, Ann Shoket wrote this in her editor’s letter:
“Recently I’ve heard from some girls who were concerned that we’d strayed from [our] promise to show real girls as they really are. […] And while we work hard behind the scenes to make sure we’re being authentic, your notes made me realize that it was time for us to be more public about our commitment. So we created a Body Peace Treaty for the magazine staff — a list of vows on how we run things here so we always made you feel amazing!”
Julia’s passion and determination has been so inspiring that a group of girls have even started another petition to get Teen Vogue to do the same thing.
Julia has proved age does NOT matter. What does matter is using your passion and driving that to make a change. Anything is possible!