In response to a petition started by one of its readers the August issue of Seventeen will contain an eight-point Body Peace Treaty authored by Seventeen’s editor-in-chief Ann Shoket that vows to never use Photoshop to “change a girl’s body or face shapes” and “always feature geal girls and models who are healthy”. The Treaty is in response to an online petition at Change.org that was started back in April by 14-year-old Julia Bluhm. The Maine teenager decided to take a stand against magazines showing “impossibly thin” models with “perfect skin”, after she became upset at how often her friends and peers negatively discussed their bodies in comparison to models featured in magazines.
In the three months since the petition was posted Julia amassed nearly 100,000 signatures from other young women who shared her desire to see magazines feature women whose bodies were unaltered by Photoshop. After increased pressure from the news media and the public at large Seventeen’s editor-in-chief responded with a letter that introduced the Body Peace Treaty. In the letter editor-in-chief Ann Shoket writes:
“Recently I’ve heard from some girls who were concerned that we’d strayed from our promise to show real girls as they really are. A lot of the comments were about Photoshopping or digitally enhancing photos. Readers wondered if we had gone too far. Like all magazines, we retouch images — removing wrinkles in fabric, stray hairs, a few zits, random bra straps — but we never alter the way the girls on our pages really look. It’s crucial that we represent girls of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones for their real beauty. Our Body Peace Project is one of the cornerstones of our mission: We want every girl to stop obsessing about what her body looks like and start appreciating it for what it can do! While we work hard behind the scenes to make sure we’re being authentic, your notes made me realize that it was time for us to be more public about our commitment.”
Since the announcement of this letter Bluhm has posted the following response on Change.org:
“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!”
Clearly Ms. Bluhm and her compatriots are treating this victory as a step forward in the battle to help promote realistic body images for young women everywhere. To read the full editor’s letter or view the Body Peace Treaty check out the images Seventeen supplied to styleite.com.