Having grown up reading teen magazines, I’ve actually given a lot of thought to whether I’d want my hypothetical future daughter reading the selection of teen glossies out there today.
On one hand, both mags seem intent on training girls to become superficial pieces of shit, feeding them such vapid editorial content as “Flirty Text Messages!” and “Weird Boyfriend Behaviors!” (note: I didn’t add the exclamation points).
On the other hand, as much as they might prey on the all-consuming insecurities of teen girls, they definitely make an effort to ameliorate them with the health/sex Q&As and articles like “Make Peace With Your Body,” a slideshow of “Real Girls” in bikinis who have drawn peace signs on the body parts they’re most proud of (note: all the girls are attractive and skinny).
Either way, I’m all for the new online petition launched by a 14 year-old girl from Maine calling on Seventeen to print at least one unaltered photo spread each month.
“For the sake of all the struggling girls all over America, who read Seventeen and think these fake images are what they should be, I’m stepping up,” writes campaign leader, Julia Bluhm. “I know how hurtful these Photoshopped images can be. I’m a teenage girl, and I don’t like what I see.”
Bluhm is also a member of SPARK, a girl-led activist movement that works with organizations to put an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media.
So far, over 50 thousand people have signed the Change.org petition, which comes just days after the international editors of Vogue signed an agreement to portray models with healthy bodies and the pledge that Glamour made last month to no longer alter body size in photos they commission.
Unfortunately, after Bluhm and her friends staged a little protest outside of Seventeen’s headquarters last Thursday, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Ann Shoket sat down with her and proceeded to rejected the request while also refusing to comment on what exactly their Photoshopping practices are.
Seriously Seventeen? All this girl is asking for is ONE measly a month that doesn’t distort a girls appearance. As far as I’m concerned, for a publication that reaches 13 million young women each month, that’s the least you could fucking do. Perhaps it’s time someone started a petition against the entire magazine.
Anyway, in other news, I’ve officially decided that any hypothetical future daughter of mine will not be allowed to Seventeen. Guess she’ll just have to re-read The Feminine Mystique each month.