Seventeen editor Ann Shoket met yesterday with Julia Bluhm, the 14-year-old reader who started an online petition to ask the magazine to curb its use of Photoshop. Although the magazine accepted the petition and its nearly 25,000 signatures when Bluhm went to deliver it in person yesterday, it appears Seventeen has no plans to take Bluhm's suggestion and start publishing just one non-Photoshopped spread per issue.
Last night, a spokesperson for Seventeen magazine emailed me the following statement:
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.
Note the absence of any mention of Photoshop or future in-house standards for the use thereof.
Bluhm, an 8th grader who lives in Maine, said this morning via a spokesperson that she was nonetheless happy to have had the opportunity to meet with Shoket. "The fact that Seventeen's editor-in-chief met with me in person proves that the voices of teen girls everywhere are getting through," said Bluhm. "While I would still change some of the ways Seventeen portrays girls, I'm encouraged that they're willing to listen to me and the 30,000 people who've signed my petition. Seventeen's invited me to work with them on this issue, which means we girls — Seventeen's readers — are finally being heard loud and clear. It's really exciting."
Bluhm's media blitz has certainly been felt online: traffic spikes made the Web site of SPARK, the feminist organization Bluhm is involved in, inaccessible for most of yesterday afternoon, and Bluhm's petition has now been signed by over 45,000 people and is still growing.