Seventeen magazine vows to feature ‘real girls’ after petition
Published Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:55PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 5, 2012 1:08PM EDT
Seventeen magazine is promising to always feature “real girls” in its pages, following an online petition that exploded in popularity.
The petition, posted to Change.org on April 19, entreated the popular teen magazine to “commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month.” The petition quickly amassed nearly 85,000 signatures in just four days.
Seventeen Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket met with the 14-year-old behind the petition, Julia Bluhm of Maine, but refused to commit to any particular changes.
But she appears to have finally responded with Seventeen’s August issue. The editor’s letter features an eight-point “Body Peace Treaty” that Shoket says the entire staff has signed, which vows to “celebrate every kind of beauty.”
Above the petition, Shoket wrote a carefully worded letter that doesn’t acknowledge that Seventeen ever used Photoshop, but vows that it will not change body shapes in the future.
"We vow to never change girls' body or face shapes (never have, never will)," the guidelines said.
Shoket did reserve the right, though, to tweak photos in order to hide bra straps or get rid of flyaway hair.
The magazine also vowed to be “totally up-front about what goes into our photo shoots” by posting details of some photo shoots to its Tumblr site, including what elements of photos are changed before they go to print.
Though Shoket’s letter didn’t contain any explicit mea culpas, the group that supported the petition, SPARK Movement, is declaring victory.
“We’re so excited at SPARK that Seventeen complied with the petition and we really want this to reach all teen magazines,” the group’s Emma Stydahar told CTV News Channel.
Stydahar notes that Seventeen’s pledge covers only the editorial content, not the ads.
“But don’t worry; that’s the next step,” Stydahar said with confidence.
SPARK, which is dedicated to healthy body images, says it’s now set its sights on Seventeen’s rival, Teen Vogue.
Stydahar, who is heading the Teen Vogue campaign, says the group is trying to “eradicate the sexualization and objectification of young girls and women.” She says Teen Vogue has been silent so far on the new campaign.
“We haven’t heard a response yet. But if anyone would like to sign the petition, we’d love them to log on to Change.org and help to get an answer from Vogue,” Stydahar said.