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Teen girl's online petition makes Seventeen keep it real

14 year old Julia Bluhm (center) at a rally outside the Seventeen Magazine office in Manhattan in May 2012. Bluhm successfully campaigned the magazine to print more non-altered images of girls and young women through an online petition and social media campaign. Image sourced from Tumblr.

A teenager from Maine declared victory in her campaign to bring unaltered images of girls and young women to Seventeen Magazine, and is now setting her sights on doing the same with Teen Vogue.

14 year old Julia Bluhm from Waterville, Maine started an online petition on Change.org directed at the editor-in-chief of Seventeen to publish one non-photoshopped photo spread per month.

On July 3, the petition page was updated:

After over 84,000 people signed Julia’s petition and she and her fellow SPARK Summit activists hand-delivered the petitions to the executive editor of Seventeen, the magazine has made a commitment to not alter the body size or face shape of the girls and models in the magazine and to feature a diverse range of beauty in its pages.

The petition started in May, when Bluhm decided to take action against the plethora of unrealistic images of girls and young women in the pages of Seventeen.

“I’m a teenage girl, and I know how it feels to think you’re not good enough,” Bluhm said in a press release. “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.”

Seventeen Magazine May 2012 Chloe Moretz Vancouver Observer

The cover of Seventeen in May 2012. Image sourced from Picasa.

Bluhm's petition attracted around 6,000 signatures in ten days, and then exploded through the help of a PR firm in San Francisco and shares on social media, according to Jezebel. She also attracted media attention through a rally in front of the Seventeen office in Manhattan.

Bluhm also blogs for SPARK Movement, a  “girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media." As a ballet dancer, she has written about body image in ballet, admirable women athletes, and the un-coolness of being "ladylike".

Glamour Magazine also took a firmer stance toward printing unrealistic images of women, by declaring publicly that it would not digitally alter photographs of celebrities and models in its spreads.

Next on the list for Bluhm and the SPARK team? A petition to Teen Vogue to follow Seventeen's footsteps.

What are your thoughts on this campaign? Do you agree that more girls' magazines should commit to publishing un-altered photos of girls, young women, celebrities and models?

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