From August 2012 issue of Seventeen Magazine

As brands and media respond to demand for ‘real’ photography, Seventeen magazine publishes manifesto to show girls “as they really are”

We reported on Monday about the McDonald’s “Behind The Scenes” promo revealing how their images were styled, now Seventeen magazine promises its own Behind The Scenes on Tumblr, revealing the process of its image-making.

In a bid to respond to readers demanding photographs of models that hadn’t been photoshopped, the magazine editor Ann Shoket drew up Seventeen magazine’s Body Peace Treaty as a response to those  “who were concerned that we’d strayed from our promise to show real girls as they really are.”

The Body Peace Treaty includes commitments such as  “Never change girls’ body or face shapes (never have never will)”, and to “Always feature real girls and models who are healthy. Regardless of clothing size, being healthy is about honoring your natural shape.”

Cover of August 2012 Seventeen magazine

Back in May, The Huffington Post reported on a campaign by 14-year old Julia Bluhm from Waterville, Maine, who started a petition “Seventeen Magazine: Give Girls Images of real Girls” and gathered to protest outside Hearst Tower where the magazine is published.

The New York Times contacted Julia Bluhm who responded while on lunchbreak from ballet camp. “ It’s even more than what we asked,” she told the Times. “The important thing is they agreed to do what we asked them to do. However they want to say it in their magazine is O.K.”

This is far from the end of the story. The retouching issue isn’t likely to go away, but the fact is, there will always be stylists, lighting, make-up artists and the talent of the highly-skilled photographer to make us look better in photographs than in real-life. There is cultural momentum around this issue however and it may accelerate the change in the kinds of models used in shoots.

In the meantime Julia Bluhm is pitching herself into a similar campaign organized by two teenagers aimed at Teen Vogue.


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