As a feminist, the mother of three daughters, the grandmother of four granddaughters and one grandson, and a woman who read many issues of Seventeen Magazine during my teenage years, I have to commend the magazine for its just announced “Body Peace Treaty.” This eight-point pact promises to show real girls as they really are, rather than by the current policy followed by virtually all magazines targeting girls and women, of retouching photos in their pages to present images so unrealistic that no normal girl could expect ever to look like them.
Of course, Seventeen didn’t come up with this vow by itself. Much of the credit for the magazine’s “treaty” goes to the efforts of a 14-year-old girl, Julia Bluhm, who blogged about her dismay at hearing her friends complaining that they were fat as they compared themselves to the PhotoShopped pictures in the magazines they read. Then through www.Change.org, Julia launched a petition asking Seventeen to print one unaltered photo each month, so that its readers can see what real girls – including models – really look like. So far Julia’s petition has received more than 84,000 signatures, and this young teenager has been able to effect change in a major national magazine. For more about the magazine’s new policy, go to http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/after-petition-drive-seventeen-magazine-commits-to-show-girls-as-they-really-are/