It’s common knowledge that models in magazines are Photoshopped to look the way that they do — often to the detriment of the young girls that aspire to have these computer generated figures — but for the most part protests have come in the form of ad campaigns like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. But in the past couple of weeks, 14-year-old Julia Bluhm decided to take a different approach.
Over the course of 10 days she singlehandedly collected 6,000 signatures for her online petition requesting that Seventeen Magazine feature one un-doctored spread per month. Since then, due in large part to a press release by a San Francisco PR firm, the petition has grown to over 50,000 signatures. Once it reached 25,000 she printed it out and hand delivered it to Seventeen’s Manhattan office.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the petition has had the desired effect. When asked, a spokeswoman for the magazine praised Julia’s passion, but made no definitive statements:
“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.”
There is a ray of hope though. Spurred on by the attention this petition has been getting, Vogue and its parent company Conde Naste have since promised to stop working with models they suspect to be underaged or have eating disorders. This promise will be difficult to regulate, but at the very least it’s a step in a healthier, less photoshopped direction.