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People Are Awesome: Teen Ballerina Shames Seventeen Magazine To Stop Photoshopping

Julia Bluhm was fed up with the pages full of pixel perfect girls touched up and thinned out with the digital magic wand. So she organized.

Glossy magazine bosses take note: Beware of fourteen-year-olds in tutus with progressive agendas. Julia Bluhm of tiny Waterville, Maine was fed up with opening the pages of Seventeen Magazine to find pixel perfect images of girls touched up and thinned down with the magic wand of Photoshop. So she did what any social media savvy young person would—she ascended her digital soapbox. Nearly 86,000 Change.org petition signatures later, her digital organizing has rattled the windows of a 17th floor Manhattan office and Bluhm has swayed the teen media titans. No more Photoshop slim models in the pages of Seventeen Magazine.


"Here's what lots of girls don't know: those pretty women that we see in magazines are fake," Bluhm said on Change.org. "I’m in a ballet class with a bunch of high-school girls. On a daily basis I hear comments like: 'It’s a fat day,' and 'I ate well today, but I still feel fat.' To girls today, the word 'pretty' means skinny and blemish-free. Why is that, when so few girls actually fit into such a narrow category? It’s because the media tells us that 'pretty' girls are impossibly thin with perfect skin."

Bluhm's petition asked that Seventeen run one unaltered photo spread per month, but editor-in-chief Ann Shoket actually went a step further, pledging to never again use Photoshop to alter body shape and when technology is used to improve image quality or erase an errant wisp of hair, Seventeen will post before and after images on its Tumblr.

The Israeli parliament recently passed laws that require publications to print disclaimers with any Photoshopped image and actually bans models deemed underweight according to the Body Mass Index. Could the United States follow suit? It seems that Bluhm and her band of crusading sisters are just getting started. Look out Teen Vogue, they're coming for you next.

Photo (cc) Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik

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