Former Seventeen Editor Joins Teen Photoshop Activist: I “Fought For More Realistic Images” While At Mag
1:21 pm, May 10th | by Amy Tennery
It was only a month ago that 14-year-old Julia Bluhm started a campaign asking Seventeen magazine to publish just one un-Photoshopped photo-spread per issue. At the time, few could have imagined the scope that her protest would achieve. After all, she was just one of many young women fed up with seeing page after page of unrealistic images in the magazines she read.
But after launching a massive campaign, which included delivering 25,000 signatures to the Seventeen office in a single day, and garnering widespread media attention, it’s clear she was on the right track.
And now Bluhm (who’s raked upwards of 60,000 petition signatures total, if you’re curious) has made a powerful ally — someone with intimate knowledge of what happens behind closed doors at the publication.
DeDe Lahman, a former Seventeen editor and current owner of Clinton St. Baking Co., has joined forces with Bluhm, arguing that, “in the glossy world of magazines, truth and beauty are not always one and the same.”
In a written statement obtained by The Jane Dough, Lahman argued that Seventeen should pull back the curtain on how it manipulates images:
“In an ideal world, Julia wouldn’t need to request one unaltered photo spread a month, because unaltered photos would already be the norm. However, in the glossy world of magazines, truth and beauty are not always one and the same. I think a reasonable first step for Seventeen to take toward Julia’s ultimate goal would be to do a behind-the-scenes piece about how a photo shoot comes together. After all, girls can only run the world if they’re privy to its tricks.”
Lahman says she “fought for more realistic images for our readers” while she was at Seventeen, but eventually left the industry after getting fed up with the standard of beauty peddled to readers.
“I quit and traveled nationwide, speaking about what the magazine did to make our models look perfect and how to decode the misleading advertising,” Lahman noted.
Of course, Lahman and Bluhm are far from the first to speak out on this particular issue. In 2009, British lawmakers pushed for a ban on all Photoshopped images in ads targeted at teens and young kids. But this new campaign is among the most aggressive seen in the U.S. And the Lahamn-Bluhm duo is hard to deny.
So while Seventeen’s current editors may have slyly side-stepped Bluhm’s campaign in a written statement last week, we’d imagine this new development is a bit of a gamechanger.