85,000 signatures, a demonstration outside of Seventeen New York offices and a Twitter campaign later 14 year-old Julia Bluhm finally got her point across.
Bluhm started the protest because she was outraged that the models in Seventeen Magazine seemed too perfect to be real. She found herself and her classmates comparing themselves to unrealistic standards that were lowering their self-esteem and dominating their day-to-day thoughts. She decided something needed to be done.
Because of the protest she conceived, Seventeen launched the Body Peace Treaty. They promise to show real girls, never altering their face or body, and to be up front about what goes on at photo shoots. Backing up their promise, they include one spread in each issue with a before and after photo, showing what was retouched. Seventeen has also been quoted saying they use only healthy models and feature non-models and readers every year as well. In addition, they do not retouch these girls’ body sizes.
Kudos to Seventeen for not only pledging to use healthy models and not alter their faces or bodies, but also to physically show the picture before and after any retouching is done. This is a big step in the advertising world, and it is going in the right direction. Using real and relatable models will help these teens grow up with acceptance and appreciation for their bodies. As a mother of a young girl, I am especially appreciative of this move.
One can only hope that this movement will make its way into other major publications that target the older but equally vulnerable crowd. Seeing stick thin models with unobtainable figures and complexions in Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Glamour still has its adverse effects on women, while publications such as Playboy, GQ and Esquire put those unrealistic standards in the minds of men.
This vicious circle often ends in depression and eating disorders.
What do you think, should other publications follow suit? Would you support a petition to initiate a similar Body Peace Treaty with other magazines? Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise Ideas.