They said it would never happen. They said it was a losing battle.
Who could take on an epic, established monolith like Seventeen Magazine and expect it to bow to the demands of teenage girls?
The answer to that of course is 14-year-old Waterville, Maine resident and SPARKteam member Julia Bluhm who delivered 25,000 signatures to the offices of Seventeen in May (she currently has 84,000!) imploring the magazine to produce just one un-Photoshopped spread a month.
And it looks like Seventeen editor-in-chief Ann Shoket is committing to make that unlikely request a reality.
Though Shoket met with Bluhm in May and gave her a glorified “thanks, but no thanks,” the latest issue of Seventeen features a letter from Shoket announcing the magazine’s “Body Peace Treaty,” in which she and the staff vow to, among other things, “never change girls’ body or face shapes,” “be totally up-front about what goes into our photo shoots,” and “always feature real girls and models who are healthy.”
Shoket’s pledge comes on the heels of a 3-day “Keep it Real” challenge launched by SPARK, the amazing San Francisco-based Miss Representation and several other organizations. The campaign spread across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds, putting the pressure on women’s magazines to quit digitally altering images.
Only time will tell if Shoket and Seventeen actually deliver on their promise to keep it real, but in the mean time, SPARK and its supporters refuse to put the issue to rest. Their next mission is to convince the editors at Teen Vogue to follow suit.
So let us know: do you think the battle’s been won or is this another empty promise? Are we any closer to seeing real women reflected in the pages of magazines?