The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Girl leads crusade against airbrushed photos

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
By Leanne Italie
Associated Press
Published:
  • Julia Bluhm, 14, of Waterville, Maine, holds up a copy of Seventeen magazine as she leads a protest outside Hearst Corp. headquarters last week.

    Leanne Italie / Associated Press

    Julia Bluhm, 14, of Waterville, Maine, holds up a copy of Seventeen magazine as she leads a protest outside Hearst Corp. headquarters last week.

NEW YORK -- The girl crusaders held up signs in the drizzling rain with messages for Seventeen magazine: "Teen Girls Against Photoshop!" and "The Magazine's for Me? Make it Look Like Me!!"
Their leader, a 14-year-old ballet dancer from Maine, had gathered 25,000 signatures to present to the magazine's top editor, Ann Shoket, at Hearst Corp. headquarters last week.
"I love Seventeen and they do have a lot of stuff to promote (positive) body image," said Julia Bluhm, from Waterville, Maine. "But Photoshopped pictures can be harmful to girls when they compare themselves to the pictures and think that they have to look like those models to be beautiful."
Shoket met the girl and "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," the magazine said in a statement.
"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 two camps agreed to stay in touch.
Julia's journey from small-town Maine to midtown Manhattan began less than two weeks ago, when she took her cause to Change.org, an activist forum, and set up her petition online.
She was joined by six other teen girls and young women affiliated, as she is, with SPARK, a national organization that pushes back against sexualized images of girls in the media.
Julia made her case in detail at the top of her online petition, saying unrealistic images "can lead to eating disorders, dieting, depression and low self-esteem.
"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."
Altering photos in fashion magazines, especially those like Seventeen that cater to young girls, puts an unhealthy emphasis on a fantasy ideal they'll never achieve, said 17-year old Emma Stydahar, one of the protesters and a high school junior from Croton-on-Hudson near Manhattan.
"Basically, it's not real," agreed protester Natasha Williams, 17, of East Flatbush in Brooklyn. "It can lead girls to feel insecure about how they look, who they are. A lot of girls are struggling."
Story tags » Media

More Life Headlines

NEWSLETTER

Weekend to-do list

Our to-do list full of ideas for your weekend

Calendar

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus