posted on July 10, 2012 at 4:59 am
Back in May, I wrote a post on how to become an activist. In it, I mentioned a young teen named Julia Bluhm whose mission was to get Seventeen magazine to publish one image per month without Photoshop manipulation. Bluhm, backed by SPARK, a national girl-powered activist movement, posted a petition on change.org, where thousands of people signed in support.
Just last week, PI took part in the Miss Representation campaign, inspired by Bluhm and SPARK. As you may remember, the 3-day campaign urged people to tweet, blog and Instagram their personal stories about how Photoshopped images affected them.
Thousands of people responded, including some very influential people in the media industry. On June 28, Roy A. Cui, a digital retoucher, posted this video blog.
Note: This is a nine-minute video, but the content, I believe, is very revealing and surprising. Specifically, at minute 2:45 Cui lets us know what gets retouched in photos. At 3:12 he tells the story of what happened when he revealed photo secrets to an apparel store clerk, and at minute 6:45 he mentions attending a screening for Miss Representation, where one of the unrealistic images shown in the movie was his own.
I wondered how many other women, you know, had been affected like this, by the images that I retouched, it actually really started to bother me (Roy A. Cui).
Cui chose to end his part in “Photoshopping deception” because he was concerned about the young girls who had no idea that many images were Photoshopped. His desire was and still is to set the record straight. Thousands of young girls are starving themselves in order to look like the models in these magazines. And the irony is that these models don’t look like the images of themselves in real life.
Bluhm wanted Seventeen to come clean. And guess what? They’ve agreed!
The Miss Representation campaign finally claimed victory after the Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen, Ann Shoket, wrote this in the August issue:
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 (Shoket, Seventeen, August 2012).
She went on to reveal that Seventeen will be expanding its current Body Peace Program to include a Body Peace Treaty from the staff to the readers. The eight bullet pact includes the following vows that apparently all the Seventeen editors signed:
- Never change girls’ body or face shapes. (Never have, never will.)
- Always feature real girls and models who are healthy. Regardless of clothing, being healthy is about honoring your natural shape.
- Be totally up-front about what goes into our photo shoots. You can go behind the scenes on out tumblr (seventeen.tumblr.com) and see the whole shebang!
This victory for Bluhm and SPARK is a victory for all you ladies. It also demonstrates how one person can make a huge difference. And it’s not over. Bluhm is supporting another campaign directed at Teen Vogue.
PI ladies, let’s pray these initiatives lead to honesty in the media industry. It’s time we celebrated real beauty and not the ridiculous and unrealistic standards portrayed in these fashion magazines.
Are you pleased with the results of Julia Bluhm’s campaign?