First published in 1944, Seventeen, a magazine, was originally geared to inspiring 12-19 year-old females to become role models in work and citizenship. Soon after its debut, however, its focus became romance, beauty and fashion.
Standing in a line at the drugstore I sometimes wince at the covers of magazines intended to catch the eye of the young women I know and love.
Here’s a sampling from Seventeen:
- I found true love online
- 50 flirting tips you have to try now
- The ultimate secret to a great butt
Once you look inside you find the obligatory articles on perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect body - leaving most young women ( and a goodly portion of the rest of us) feeling that we will never achieve that level of beauty.
The good news/bad news about that? It is all fake - not real - photo shopped - no real person has ever achieved that level of beauty!!
It isn’t just Seventeen trying to put forward an example of beauty that is mostly digital. Here are some examples of how a little editing can erase waists, wrinkles, cellulite and create a whole new image. I have heard Madonna referred to as ageless. These photos of before and after photo shop handily dispel that myth:
An eighth grader Julia Bluhm listened to her classmates and other teens in her dance class complain about their weight. Apparently, they all felt too fat. Knowing the standard that was being set for them through magazines like Seventeen was an editor's version of the model, Julia decided to see if she could change things. An online petition soon had 84,000 signatures from around the world. In addition, Julia organized a demonstration at the corporate offices of Seventeen. The petition, the demonstration and a barrage of correspondence got their attention. Seventeen ran up the white flag and issued an 8-point Body Peace Treaty, promising not to alter natural shapes and further promised to use only images of real girls and models who showed a healthy vitality.
Inspired by Julia's campaign, a couple of middle school girls are taking on Teen Vogue asking for the same promise. Please, don't use our airbrushed and edited images to sell products, promote a look or sell magazines.
I like Julia! I like that she saw through the foggy mist of allusion and knew that she and her friends are beautiful.
Let's make a pledge, iSissies! Let us pledge to give younger girls positive affirmations that they are valuable for their creativity, their talents, their intellect, their goodness and through those gifts they will develop an inner beauty that nothing can erase or diminish - not time, not challenges not even an editor with photo shop!