Can a 13-year-old girl convince Seventeen Magazine to commit to printing one "unaltered" photo spread per month? Maybe, actually! Julia Bluhm, the teenager behind the Change.org petition asking the magazine to showcase "regular girls that look like me in a magazine that's supposed to be for me," has collected almost 9,000 signatures for her cause.
Seventeen is extremely vocal on the topic of positive body image, and often uses social media to promote its ongoing "Body Peace" campaign — for example, it recently asked readers to tweet photos of themselves in a bikini with a peace sign drawn over a favorite part of their body for an unaltered, inspiring feature— so it would be pretty hypocritical of them to not respond to Julia's efforts.
Here's Julia's petition letter in full:
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Seventeen.
Give Girls Images of Real Girls!
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.
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?
We've reached out to a few editors at Seventeen but haven't heard back. If you want to help Julia get to her stated goal of 10,000 signatures, click here.