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Seventeen Petition Asks For Real Girls In Magazine

By Izzy Labbe

I am in a lover’s quarrel right now.

Not with an actual person, but rather, one of my favorite magazines: Seventeen Magazine. Yeah, yeah, I know. This is the part where you all gasp and run away from me. Shock! Horror! Disaster! A feminist who loves Seventeen! Can it be so? Well friends, the answer is yes. I am a feminist, and I read Seventeen Magazine.

It wasn’t always this way. There were times when I would rather voluntarily sit through a golf tournament from start to finish before I would pick up a copy and start flipping through it. But I decided to face my fears, and challenge myself to reading Seventeen Magazine from cover to cover. And I found myself actually enjoying it. Today, I have a subscription, and I find pleasure in sitting down and flipping through some good, mindless stuff.

However, there is a catch. Just like in many relationships, I don’t love everything about it. In fact, there are a lot of things I really hate about their magazine, such as the love advice, the “Look Pretty NOW!” and “Work Off Your Butt” headlines, and the subliminal self-esteem messages and altogether superficial, vapidness of it all.

Then, there are the pictures. The perfect, thin, blemish-free girls on the covers and inside the magazine. Photoshopped and digitally enhanced girls looking back at me, as if I am suppose to think they’re real. Why? I think, isn’t Seventeen better than this?

Julia's change.org petition

I strongly stand and ask you to sign SPARK Blogger Julia Bluhm’s change.org petition that asks Seventeen‘s Editor-in-Chief to publish one spread each month of unaltered pictures. “I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that’s supposed to be for me,” Julia writes. I agree! It’s not a lot to ask for a magazine that is suppose to be a leader in the teen world of beauty, inspiration, and fashion. We want them to focus more on real girls making changes and being beautiful — and not airbrushed models.

The petition has received more than 6,500 signatures so far. That’s a lot of voices from readers, parents and male allies who want Seventeen to show girls everywhere that they are beautiful just the way we are. But we need your help to reach our goal!

I know Seventeen cares about us. They have a Body Peace council of healthy celebrities who write articles on loving yourself, while commending confident, healthy women in the media. They also publish stories about overcoming eating disorders, and plus sized models, and why you should love your breast size. They must know that these type of pictures enhance the chances that girls have these issues, right? Right?!

In the fashion section, clothes are separated by all different body types- petite, tall, hourglass, curvy all over, pretty much everything. They give advice on using birth control, and why you should wait to have sex, mentioning unwanted pregnancies and STDs. They confront peer pressure and allow girls to share their stories about the troubles they face in real life.

Usually, celebrities on their covers are not there because they’re just beautiful, but because they are inspirational, brave, and have a lesson to teach readers. Every year Seventeen holds the “Pretty Amazing” contest, in which five girls who are “passionate, creative” and “mega-talented” are given the chance to appear on their cover and share their stories of success. The winner receives a $20,000 scholarship.

Once I looked at all these facts, I found myself wondering why Seventeen would use airbrushed models in their magazine at all. Add your signature to Julia’s petition and let’s push Seventeen to make a change in our world to make us all feel “pretty amazing.”

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8 Responses to “Seventeen Petition Asks For Real Girls In Magazine”

  1. Lori says:

    Signing Julia’s petition. I think you are already pretty amazing – without the magazine!

  2. [...] First, if you haven’t signed the petition, get to it! Then ask all your friends, family members and obscure, distant relatives to sign it too. Tweet it, Facebook it, share it on Tumblr, the whole shebang. If you want more info on Seventeen Magazine, check out this blog by SPARKteam-er Izzy Labbe. [...]

  3. [...] photo editing or enhancement of the images. The campaign, started by SPARK bloggers Julia Bluhm and Izzy Labbe, led a group of teen activists to hold a mock photo shoot outside Seventeen’s New York office. [...]

  4. [...] Julia Bluhm and I walked into our cafeteria during lunchtime with my laptop, the April issue of Seventeen Magazine, and a few questions. We interviewed 15 seventh and eighth graders at our school, as well as our [...]

  5. [...] Knowledge) addressed this issue during the summer of 2012 when SPARK activist Julia Bluhm circulated a petition against Seventeen to protest its practice of airbrushing and Photoshopping the models that appeared [...]

  6. [...] D.C to speak at the TEDx Women conference. Our 10-minute talk was all about our experience with the Seventeen Magazine Campaign, and encouraging girls and women to join organizations like SPARK, in order to make a difference. [...]

  7. [...] media. Some of the initiatives they have taken include creating a petition that ended the use of Photoshop images in Seventeen Magazine and starting campaigns such as the Lego Friends Campaign and the H&M plus size model [...]

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