A 14-year-old girl who started an online petition against magazines tweeking images of female models has gotten exactly what she wished for — a pledge from Seventeen magazine that it will not alter photos.
In the latest issue, Seventeen editor-in-chief Ann Shoket promised teen readers in a "Body Peace Treaty" that the magazine will continue to "celebrate every kind of beauty" and feature "real girls and models who are healthy." She stopped short, though, of accepting blame for airbrushing or photoshopping images in the past, saying editors at Seventeen "never have, never will."
"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," Shoket wrote to readers.
The "Body Peace Treaty" was prompted by an online petition started by Maine teenager Julia Bluhm in April. She managed to garner the signatures of 85,000 people who wanted Seventeen to "commit to printing one unaltered -- real -- photo spread per month." Bluhm argued that touched-up images poison teen girls with an unrealistic expectation of how they should look.
"Here’s what lots of girls don’t know. Those 'pretty women' that we see in magazines are fake,' Bluhm wrote in the petition. "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."
After the influx of petitioners contacting Seventeen, Shoket invited Bluhm to the magazine's office for a meeting, which led to the decision to print the "Body Peace Treaty."
Young activists have now turned their attention to Teen Vogue with another online petition calling on the magazine to make the same pledge.