Girl activists deliver petition to Teen Vogue editor
Britney Franco, 13, left, poses with Hannah Stydahar, 14, during a protest on July 11, 2012, near the offices of Teen Vogue in the Times Square section of New York. Days after a campaign led by a 14-year-old girl secured a promise from Seventeen magazine not to alter body shapes in photographs, more teens protested against Teen Vogue on Wednesday. (AP / Leanne Italie)
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 11:12AM EDT
NEW YORK -- Two girl crusaders who staged a mock red carpet show against Teen Vogue said their meeting with the magazine's top editor was brief and chilly.
The two met with Editor in Chief Amy Astley for less than five minutes Wednesday, when they delivered a petition bearing more than 28,000 signatures after their Times Square protest near the offices of the magazine.
Astley did not talk to Emma Stydahar, 17, or Carina Cruz, 16, about their request for Teen Vogue to declare in its pages that it doesn't digitally manipulate images. Instead, the girls were given copies of Teen Vogue and told to use them to learn more about the magazine.
"It was kind of shocking how rude they were to us," Carina said in a statement released by their all-girl activist group, SPARK Movement.
The tone was in contrast to a friendly and much longer chat a 14-year-old counterpart, Julia Bluhm, had in May with Seventeen's top editor, Ann Shoket, after she led a mock photo shoot and presented Shoket with a petition making similar requests.
Shoket then promised in the August issue of Seventeen not to alter body shapes in photographs. Emma and Carina had been hoping for the same result.
"We assumed Teen Vogue would also want to hear what their readers think and do everything they can to help girls feel better about themselves and their bodies," Carina said. "Instead, they sat with us for five minutes and told us to do our homework."
Teen Vogue has a circulation of about 1 million, reaching teens and tweens as young as 10.
"We are always open to readers' feedback and were receptive to meeting with Emma and Carina to give them an opportunity to discuss their concerns," the magazine said in a statement Thursday, a day after saying it makes a "conscious and continuous effort to promote a positive body image among our readers."
The magazine added that "we feature dozens of non-models and readers every year and do not retouch them to alter their body size. We will continue to show real girls on the pages of our magazine."
Emma and Carina want Teen Vogue to put that in writing for all readers to see as Shoket did in Seventeen, and to feature "diverse images of real girls and healthy models."