Tween successfully petitions Seventeen magazine to stop airbrushing

Tween successfully petitions Seventeen magazine to stop airbrushing

Seventeen magazine has agreed to stop airbrushing photos in the magazine after a 14 year-old Julia Bluhm started an online petition has that garnered more than 84,000 signatures since April 19, 2012.  The editors agreed to be more transparent about its photo shoots with what they call the Body Peace Treaty and launched the Body Peace Project.

Seventeen’s editor-in-chief Ann Shoket said that the magazine’s staff drafted the pact, and the August issue includes details of the pledge, including a commitment to “celebrate every kind of beauty” with “a range of body types, skin tones, heights and hair textures.” and providing photo shoot details, including what elements of photos are changed before they go to print.

I love this for many reasons:

  1. Tweens and teens should see real images of real girls, and airbrushing provides them with the opposite images.
  2. Seventeen’s pledge says “being healthy is about honoring your natural shape”and girls need to hear that.  It rings especially true with tweens, whose bodies are changing so rapidly.
  3. This all started from the efforts of a 14 year-old.  Tweens and teens can change the world.  This is proof, and a great discussion starter for parents.  Upon hearing Seventeen’s announcement, the girl who started the petition said, Seventeen listened! They’re saying they won’t use photoshop to digitally alter their models! This is a huge victory, and I’m so unbelievably happy. Another petition is being started by SPARK activists Emma and Carina, targeting Teen Vogue and I will sign it. If we can be heard by one magazine, we can do it with another. We are sparking a change!”
  4. The pledge may make girls aware of the prior airbrushing and that used by other publications.

There are a few reasons I don’t love this:

  1. I’m bothered that Seventeen unnecessarily photo shopped in the first place.
  2. It took more than 80,000 signatures and several months to convince Seventeen that this was the right thing to do?  That’s sad.
  3. Was there a war on tween bodies? Calling it the peace treaty makes it sound somewhat militaristic or violent.

What do you think of Seventeen’s decision?  What do you love or not love about it?

Filed under: Media

Tags: airbrush, media, seventeen magazine, tween


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  • Love Seventeen's decision. As my 9-year-old edges closer to this age range, I'm hoping that some day in the future all such photos we see in print media may bear some semblance to actual reality.....

  • I have a 9 year-old as well and I couldn't agree with you more, Julie! The UK has some great info for kids this age on media alteration of photos - you can find links here:

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