Julia Bluhm, a 14-year-old from Waterville, Maine, was hearing a lot of negative self-talk in her ballet class. Her peers often complained about feeling fat and exhibited signs of warped body image. “To girls today, the word ‘pretty’ means skinny and blemish-free,” says Julia. “Why is that, when so few girls actually fit into such a narrow category? It’s because the media tells us that ‘pretty’ girls are impossibly thin with perfect skin.” Fed up with such unattainable standards, Julia decided it was time to act. So she wrote a petition to the editorial board of Seventeen magazine, with one simple request…
“I’m asking Seventeen Magazine to commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month. I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that’s supposed to be for me. For the sake of all the struggling girls all over America, who read Seventeen and think these fake images are what they should be, I’m stepping up. I know how hurtful these photoshopped images can be. I’m a teenage girl, and I don’t like what I see. None of us do.”
So far Julia’s petition has gathered nearly 10,000 signatures and is quickly gaining publicity and momentum. It’s yet to be determined if and how Seventeen will respond, but whatever happens, it’s heartening to see this kind of grassroots activism from a young person, and the massive response it has received. Rock on, Julia! You can sign the petition here.