by Ben Ubiñas
Sometimes, when you speak truth to power, power beats you down. But sometimes, you prevail. SPARK’s campaign to end Photoshopping in Seventeen Magazine has prevailed.
The editor of Seventeen Magazine has taken the side of SPARK and the thousands of people who joined them, including me. She got the message and is now saying no to distorting the images of girls for profit. No longer will Seventeen Magazine show those images that we all find so disturbing: miniaturized waists, enlarged heads, and, of course, picture-perfect everything. Images that hurt us all, girls by being encouraged to look like the impossible, boys by being made to expect the impossible. At least at Seventeen, this vicious cycle is over. To us boys, this gives us the hope that girls will know that they look awesome the way they are, that they don’t have to look fake, that Barbie is a toy.
But it’s no time to celebrate. Other magazines, like Teen Vogue, continue to exploit us – boys and girls – by showing us images that are impossible. Seventeen Magazine has shown us that we can prevail, that even the high and mighty in their New York palaces can sometimes hear us, calling from our high schools. Let’s use the enlightenment of the editor at Seventeen as our fuel to drive out Photoshop from every teen magazine.
As a boy, I find this success inspiring. It’s not just for girls. It shows that young people, working together, can make change happen. I go through every day looking around and seeing all of the things that just aren’t right, all the ways that we teenagers are taken for granted, exploited, and taken advantage of. It’s easy to think that we can’t do anything about it, that we have to wait until that magic future when we are the adults, but this victory shows that we can do things now, that we can speak truth to power and be heard. A baby lion is a lion nonetheless.
I want to hear, from everyone who reads this blog, about things they see where people our age are being taken advantage of, and what you’re doing personally, or what you want to do personally, to question, to challenge, and to act.
This is Ben Ubiñas, boy blogger, signing off for this month. I’m away learning Spanish in July, but I’ll be checking your posts and hope I hear from you.