Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

Teens can make a change for the better


July 24, 2012

Julia Blum, a 14-year-old ballet dancer who lives in Maine, decided that she was fed up with seeing altered photos on magazines such as Seventeen, where models looked like they had the perfect waistline, clear face and absolutely no fat. Even some young girls know that this is an impossibility to achieve.

The problem is that a lot of teens and pre-teens don’t realize that these photos are not always reality, which many say promotes eating disorders and perverse body images.

Blum decided to do what she could to stop magazines from touching up photos within their pages and Seventeen Magazine listened.

Ann Shoket, editor-in-chief of the magazine, announced that they would start promoting healthy habits. However, they did not go so far as to admit they were editing their models faces and bodies.

“We want every girl to stop obsessing about what her body looks like, and start appreciating it for what it can do!” Shoket said in the most recent edition of Seventeen.

Accordingly to WORLD on Campus, Seventeen also created its own campaign— “body peace treaty”—to encourage its readers to love their bodies and treat them with care. On the magazine’s website, editors posted 17 vows readers can take to encourage them to live better, healthier, and happier.

SPARK Summit, an activist organization that promotes healthy images of women in the media and opposes sexual objectification, helped Blum in her campaign by collecting over 84,000 signatures to persuade magazines to limit their touch-ups.

Seventeen’s editors have agreed to post before and after photos on their Tumblr website if they do decide to touch-up their models.

“No longer will Seventeen Magazine show those images that we all find so disturbing: miniaturized waists, enlarged heads, and, of course, picture-perfect everything,” Ben Ubiñas, a blogger for SPARK, said in a post on the group’s website, “Images that hurt us all, girls by being encouraged to look like the impossible, boys by being made to expect the impossible.”

As a mother of a pre-teen, I am thrilled to not only hear that a popular teen magazine will ensure that they show realistic photos of models but will also promote a healthy body image to their young readers.

I know what these young people can do when they set their mind to something, I have seen it over and over again.

Big businesses like this know that much of their income and that of their advertisers, comes from pre-teens and teenage clientele. If they listen to their consumer, they and their advertisers will see a bump in revenue.

I am a mom who won’t buy these magazines for my daughter. If I see that Seventeen has truly followed through with their commitment to promote healthy lifestyles and that they stop touching up the photos, I will be more inclined to submit to my daughter’s requests at check-out.


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