Teens protest against Photoshop use outside Seventeen magazine offices

Teens protest against Photoshop use outside Seventeen magazine offices

A petition led by 14-year-old Julia Bluhm has gained 43,000 signatures

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UPDATED:

15:45 GMT, 3 May 2012

Teenagers gathered outside Seventeen magazine's New York office to protest the magazine's fervent use of airbrushing yesterday.

14-year-old Julia Bluhm then hand delivered 25,000 signatures to the magazine's editor-in-chief, protesting its use of Photoshop.

During the demonstration, the eighth-grade student and her peers demanded that
editors of the Hearst title 'commit to printing one unaltered – real –
photo spread per month.'

Teen's against Photoshop: Julia Bluhm, 14, stood in the rain outside the magazine's Midtown headquarters and led a protest against the industry's fervent use of Photoshop, before hand delivering her petition with 25,000 signatures

Rea teens: Julia Bluhm, 14, stood outside the magazine's Midtown headquarters and led a protest against the industry's fervent use of Photoshop, before hand delivering her petition with 25,000 signatures

Miss Bluhm said during the protest: 'I know much how much pictures in the media have an effect in the self esteem of girls and their body image.'

The magazine said it invited Miss Bluhm to its offices after seeing her petition, called Seventeen Magazine: Give Girls Images Of Real Girls!

In a statement yesterday, Seventeen said: 'We're proud of Julia for being so passionate about an issue – it's exactly the kind of attitude we encourage in our readers – so we invited her to our office to meet with editor in chief Ann Shoket this morning.'

After talking with reporters at the protest, Miss Bluhm was waved up to the magazine's offices to meet with Ms Shoket.

Of
the meeting, Seventeen said: 'They had a great discussion, and we
believe that Julia left understanding that Seventeen celebrates girls
for being their authentic selves, and that's how we present them. We
feature real girls in our pages and there is no other magazine that
highlights such a diversity of size, shape, skin tone and ethnicity.'

Seventeen responds: Editor-in-chief Ann Shoket (left) tweets about her discussion with Miss Bluhm (right) after the protest

Seventeen responds: Editor-in-chief Ann Shoket (left) tweeted about her discussion with Miss Bluhm (right) after the protest, showing support for the teenagers petition

The teenager uploaded the petition on the campaigning website Change.org, which has now attracted nearly 43,000 signatures – up from yesterday's 25,000 at the time of the protest.

Spread through social media, Miss Bluhm's petition gained around 6,000 signatures in ten days.

With the help of a press release from a San Francisco PR firm, major news sites and blogs picked up the story and the number quickly grew to over 20,000.

'This is really exciting,' Miss
Bluhm told Jezebel. 'I now know that there are a lot of girls who feel
the same way as I do about this.'

Miss Bluhm, who is also a regular
blogger for the 'girl-fueled' activist group Spark Summit, wrote in
her petition that 'those pretty women that we see in magazines are
fake.'

She continued:
'They're often Photoshopped, airbrushed, edited to look thinner and to
appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine
probably looks a lot different in real life.'

She also claimed that the constant use of airbrushing by the title has led to low self-esteem levels among her friends.

Seventeen magazine

Julia Bluhm, Seventeen Reader, Petitions Magazine To Feature Non-Airbrushed Photos

No more airbrushing: The teenager uploaded the petition on the campaigning website Change.org, which has now attracted nearly 43,000 signatures – up from yesterday's 25,000 at the time of the protest

Seventeen magazine: The teenager uploaded the petition on the campaigning website Change.org, which has now attracted nearly 43,000 signatures - up from yesterday's 25,000 at the time of the protest

Julia Bluhm, Seventeen Reader, Petitions Magazine To Feature Non-Airbrushed Photos

Defending itself: Seventeen magazine said it features real girls and there is no other magazine that highlights such a diversity of size, shape, skin tone and ethnicity

The petition reads: 'Girls want to be accepted, appreciated and liked. And when they don't fit the criteria, some girls like to fix themselves. This can lead to eating disorders, dieting, depression and low self-esteem.'

Miss Bluhm, who is also enrolled in ballet classes at her middle school, recalled some of the comments she hears at school, in the petition.

They include 'It's a fat day' and 'I ate well today but I still feel fat.'

The outspoken teenager also targeted the media, claiming that it 'tells us that pretty girls are impossibly thin with perfect skin.'

While such criticism is often voiced and discussed among adults, the words are less commonly heard through children or teenagers.

The news comes after Glamour magazine, a competing title, announced that it would take a stricter stand on the representation of women by asking its photographers to refrain from altering images even if requested to do so by the subject.