A Return to Dignity?
Recently Seventeen Magazine announced that it would stop using Photoshop to enhance pictures of young men and women in their magazine. They made a promise to run a spread once a month using only untouched photos. They are calling the spread “Body Peace Treaty.”
In April Fashionista carried this story about fourteen year old Julia Bluhm who started a petition on Change.org asking Seventeen to do one spread a month with “real” girls. Seventeen has agreed and this month they responded with a list of goals they hope their new spread will accomplish. You can find a list of the most relevant ones here.
While their movement toward promoting a more positive body image for teens should be applauded, we also need to realize that this is what they SHOULD have been doing all along. As a magazine that acts as a role model for young women, they needed to do a better job of promoting positive self-image. The total lack of respect and dignity they have shown for young women by continuing to promote unattainable versions of beauty is shameful. Until their hand was forced by the opposition of young teenage girls, threatening their magazine sales and ultimately their popularity, they have been will unwilling to take the plunge in presenting young women with real life images of teens.
Seventeen magazine has been placed in our society as a cornerstone of teen culture. For generations women have turned to the publication starting in their early teenage years. Sadly, Seventeen has not upheld their responsibility to lead our young women well. Seventeen was first published in 1944 with the hopes of promoting self-confidence and independence among women. Did you know Sylvia Plath submitted forty-five pieces to Seventeen before her first one was published in 1950? While their focus even in the early years quickly took on a romantic and fashion orientated air, their underlying goal was to help women. With the abundant use of Photoshop they failed in doing this. Instead of acting as a guding principle in the lives of women, they created an elitist ideal of beauty.Continued on the next page