Teen Stages Photo Shoot Protest Over Seventeen Magazine’s Photoshopped Models
1:45 pm, May 2nd | by Laura Donovan
We Millenials love to mope about the plight of the 20-something, but that’s nothing compared to the awfulness of one’s middle school/early high school years. At that time, you probably have a long way to go before growing into your appearance or feeling comfortable with the way you look, and heavily edited pictures of women in magazines do nothing to cheer you up.
That’s why 14-year-old Julia Bluhm and Change.org hosted a mock photoshoot in protest of photoshopped models outside Seventeen magazine’s Manhattan headquarters today. Bluhm, who is behind Change.org’s movement to get Seventeen to ”commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month,” is an eighth grade ballerina who traveled all the way from Maine to do the pretend photo shoot and distribute her petition signatures to the folks at Hearst. And while the rainy weather kept the crowd at a modest size, the event was largely successful.
“I know how much of an effect these photoshopped images in the media can have on girls,” Bluhm, a SPARKS summit blogger, told The Jane Dough at the rain-soaked photo shoot. “Girls see these pictures and think they have to look like this (pointing at cover of Seventeen) to be considered beautiful when in real life these photos are often photoshopped, so it’s kind of impossible to look like that in real life. It can lead to low self-esteem [and] depression.”
Bluhm added that she’s a huge fan of Seventeen, which she said is “already doing a lot to help girls feel good about their body image. They have their ‘Pretty Amazing’ contest that recognizes girls for their skills and strengths.” The young lady is also quite the star at school right now, as “everybody” there knows about her Seventeen mission and is proud.
“I’m a teenage girl, and I know how it feels to think you’re not good enough,” Bluhm said. “I want girls to be able to feel good about themselves, and being able to relate to the images in the magazines we read will help.”
Speaking with Bluhm, who is probably just a few years away from attending 92Y, made me both sad and happy that I’m a decade out of junior high. No amount of money could woo me to return to those years, but in a day and age when Glamour vows to tone down photoshopping and teenagers like Bluhm get more than 25,000 signatures asking Seventeen to do the same, things could be taking a turn for the better.