Fourteen year-old Julia Bluhm, of Maine, recently rallied more than 80,000 supporters in order to propose a goal to Seventeen Magazine.
That goal was to “print one photo spread per issue without an altered image” according to the Washington Post.
Bluhm’s rally was and still is part of the Sexualization Protest Action: Action, Resistance, Knowledge; otherwise known as SPARK. SPARK is a young female activist group that is “demanding an end to the sexualization of women and girls” in the media, according to the Washington Post.
In last August’s issue of Seventeen, head editor, Ann Shoket, responded to Bluhm’s and SPARK’s campaign. Shoket responded with a carefully worded statement saying that the magazine would “never change girls’ body or face shapes”. Shoket also stated that only images of “real…healthy” models would be published in Seventeen.
Bluhm started her movement against Seventeen online at change.org, the site allows users like Bluhm to ‘share electronic petitions with their social networks’. Once users gain a significant amount of supporters, change.org offers additional assistance from it’s expert staff and activist network.
With the attention Bluhm gained from her rally against Seventeen Magazine, her and SPARK are now moving their attention towards Teen Vogue and Cosmo Girl as well.
In today’s world, girls are greatly influenced by what they see in the media. If the actress on the television screen or the model in the magazine is a size two, with flawless skin and flowing blonde hair… that is what many girls imagine their appearance should mirror.
In reality, many girls do not and may never look like that. This can and often does result in low self-esteem; which can ruin a girl’s teenage years.
In my opinion, media outlets such as Seventeen or Teen Vogue should reflect a typical teenage body type to its viewers. This way, young girls can see what a healthy teenage girl looks like: acne, curves and all.
In conclusion, props to Julia Bluhm. After only one year of being a teenager she managed to see between the lines of real and fake.