In 2012, a 14-year-old girl named Julia Bluhm started a petition on Change.org urging the popular Seventeen Magazine to bring attention to the problem of airbrushed images of celebrities. She wrote: “Here’s what lots of girls don’t know. Those “pretty women” that we see in magazines are fake. They’re often photoshopped, air-brushed, edited to look thinner, and to appear like they have perfect skin…As part of SPARK Movement, a girl-fueled, national activist movement, I’ve been fighting to stop magazines, toy companies, and other big businesses from creating products, photo spreads and ads that hurt girls’ and break our self-esteem…That’s why 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.”
The petition caught on – receiving over 84,000 signatures – and the editor of Seventeen Magazine responded with this “Body Peace Treaty”. The Eight-Point plan’s promises include to “never change girls’ body or face shapes” and to “celebrity every kind of beauty.”
See the original petition here.
What does the success of Bluhm’s petition say about the ability of media consumers to impact the practices of media producers? Can you think of any other instances in which media producers have been forced to respond to the demands of its viewers?
Do you think the Eight-Point plan of the “Body Peace Treaty” will have any impact on teenagers’ perceptions of what “beauty” looks like? Why or why not?