Quote: Julia Bluhm, 14, is an eighth grader from rural Waterville, Maine. She loves ballet and attends class six days a week. She is also gaining national attention as an activist who is challenging the media to take responsibility for the way it warps girls' self-esteem.
"I've always noticed how a lot of the images in magazines look photo-shopped," Bluhm tells Yahoo! Shine. She wants all girls to feel comfortable in their own skin. "Girls shouldn't compare themselves to pictures in magazines," she says. "Because they are fake."
Eleven days ago, she launched a petition to ask one of her favorite magazines, Seventeen, to feature one un-retouched photo shoot a month. "They have already done a lot to help girls improve their body image. Their Body Peace feature is great. I thought that they could take it one step further with an unaltered photo spread." This morning, she is leading a protest outside of Seventeen's offices in Manhattan which will include a mock fashion shoot."I'm a little nervous. But excited."
Her petition on change.org reads:
"To girls today, the word 'pretty' means skinny and blemish-free. 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.
Here's what lots of girls don't know. Those 'pretty women' that we see in magazines are fake. They're often photo-shopped, airbrushed, edited to look thinner, and to appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine probably looks a lot different in real life….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….I've learned that we have the power to fight back."
The American Medical Association (AMA) backs up Bluhm's assertions. In June 2011, they issued a press release stating, "A large body of literature links exposure to media-propagated images of unrealistic body image to eating disorders and other child and adolescent health problems." Board member Barbara L. McAneny, MD, added, "We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software."
I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children… - Wendell Berry, 1971