Seventeen Magazine Vows To "Keep It Real" With Photoshop Thanks to Awesome 14-Year-Old Girl

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?

Image via Dolly Mix

  • Jessica Jeffers

    This isn’t going to solve all the body issues that teen girls deal with, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope other publications — and advertisers! — follow suit.

  • Emily Sposetta

    If anyone else saw the picture Victoria’s Secret posted on Facebook of bikini bottoms yesterday morning, it’s clear Photoshopping is still pretty prevalent. But I applaud them for doing this–teenage girls especially need to know that what you see isn’t always what’s real!

  • Shanna Marie Jones

    I think this is a step in the right direction but do you guys not see that her arm is thinner? And I’d be surprised if her legs are really that thin in real life…

    • Helly Kwee

      Her “after” arm isn’t thinner, that’s an optical illusion because there are “crease” marks distorting the picture and making straight lines crooked. Take a look at the enlarged version of the pic– those creases (and their effects) are much more obvious there. Also, you can barely even SEE her legs, so how can you tell if they are “that thin” or not?

  • Bobbie Aleen Hendron

    Whether or not there are create marks- her arm is meant to look smaller. Optical illusion or not- we perceive it as being smaller. I think celebrating natural body image is a great thing, but this modeling and photo shop stuff is far from over. Photos will always be doctored and women will always look at the images and logically know the look is unattainable but strive for it anyway. It how we’ve been programmed over the last few decades. However- props to this girl for making even a slight dent! Women should celebrate who THEY are- that’s what makes them beautiful. No matter size, shape, or color, we’re all uniquely individual and should own it 😀

  • Mayra Isabel Gamez

    They must be taking this very seriously since they took the time to proofread! Hah. (I spy a typo!) 😀

    • Jenny Elrington

      where’s the typo?

  • Christine Wilson

    Best Health, a Canadian Womens magazine, features real women in almost every article. There are models in the ads, but other than that nearly the whole thing is real women. Different body types, faces, ethnicities, I love it!
    It’s my favorite :)

    • Romina Castellini Paladino

      Thanks for the data, I’ll check it out!

  • Shannon Paige Dennison

    I think that what Seventeen is doing is great. Because the thing is, you can’t just say “no photoshopping” and have it come true. Photoshopping is more than just making a body different-there are things like those accidental creases, flyaway hairs, and exposure/clarity changes. My father used to be a wedding and portrait photographer, and I saw him “give somebody a haircut” when he fixed some of those little details. Changing a persons body structure is WRONG, but doing something like taking away a zit (which is temporary anyways) or changing the clarity of a photo is just fine.

  • Hailey Case

    People have been “photoshopping” their pictures almost since pictures were invented (dark rooms included). It can be used to enhance the visual appeal and I like Seventeen’s promise not to stop using Photoshop but to not fundamentally change the body structure of their models. I personally wouldn’t want my photo in a magazine completely unaltered and SOOC…;) I just hope it sticks and other publishing entities follow suit!

  • Megz Stroback

    No because they still don’t have plus size girls in most magazines. Until that happens the fight won’t be over….

  • Danielle Mitchell

    The root of the issue runs deeper than photo shopping. In the first instance, models are under immense pressure to meet rediculous standards in terms of keeping a low weight, keeping their measurements small, having perfect skin and hair etc etc. There is also no doubt a lack of diversity in terms of models in general. Young girls need support from their peers, role models and parents etc to accept and embrace their body type and looks despite what they see in magazines, on MTV etc.

  • Hillary Beth Johns

    As someone who grew up on Seventeen, I can’t wait to see if they keep their “treaty.” They may not photoshop as much as say Elle (what did they do to poor Emma Stone?!), but I find it hard to believe that all they did was fix the lovely girl’s hair and shirt tuck.
    If Seventeen will keep this pledge, it could mean real change. They have the monopoly on teen girls and showing change early will inspire their young readers to have the same ideals. I’d love to see more magazines showcase diverse models. Every shape, size, ethnicity… the world is not made of cookie cutter blondes in bikinis. Why would someone like me, who is 5’5”, curvy and brunette, buy a product that only shows the itsy-bitsy and photoshopped? At the same time, the thin girls aren’t going to buy magazines that only show curvy gals. We are a diverse world! We need to show it. That’s why I’m glad there are organizations like SPARK and Teen Voices ( They show girls there is more to them than what society tries to make them to be.

  • Miranda Victoria

    Keep it REAL? Why does the arm look THINNER?

  • Jordan Maureen

    Awesome for you, Julia Bluhm!!! A giant, doble high five of awesomeness to you!!!

  • Olivia Curtis Brown

    This is a huge step and I hope they come through with it.
    A couple weeks ago I saw an Ad for Rimmel mascara with Zooey in it but it was so photoshopped it looked nothing like her! Which is a shame because she is so beautiful!
    So I hope if Seventeen does this others will fall in line!

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