This week, Seventeen magazine released their “Body Peace Treaty,” which promises to “celebrate every kind of beauty” and “never alter the shape of a girl’s face or body.” The treaty comes in the aftermath of an online petition, signed by nearly 100,000 girls, asking the magazine to “give girls images of real girls.”
The petition was started by 14-year-old Julia Bluhm. And now her friend, 16-year-old Carina Cruz, has started a similar petition, targeted at Teen Vogue.
"This problem has always been very personal to me, this problem with body image. I've always struggled with it," Cruz says. "It's a universal problem, and I think that the media really doesn't help to fix that problem." Cruz believes that the practice of photoshopping is a major cause of feelings of inadequacy among young women.
"There's obviously a connection between the insecurities that teen girls are feeling, and then looking at these magazines at the same time," Cruz says. Along with factors like personal insecurities and negative comments from peers, the media certainly doesn't help.
Emily Rems, the managing editor of Bust Magazine, and her team have been recognized repeatedly for their efforts to celebrate girls of diverse backgrounds and body types. One of their biggest fans is Tina Fey, who famously wrote in her memoir, “Bossypants,” that no magazine has done a better job of leaving her looking beautiful and intact after a photoshoot.
"What we do know between the 1950s and now is that the amount of dissatisfaction that younger and younger girls feel about their bodies is astronomically higher now that it was then," Rems says. "One can't help but see a correlation."
There is such a thing as "responsible photoshop", Rems says. The removal of something minor, like a blemish, would fall under this category. Then there are cases in which magazines alter the contours of models' bodies or faces.
The problem does not just lie in magazines' altering of photographs, however. Rems places the blame on fashion designers themselves, who tend to only send sample clothes of smaller sizes to magazines for photoshoots. "When we're out there with our fashion editors trying to procure clothes for our magazine, and the fashion industry provides those clothes and says, 'No, we will not give you a sample above this size,' and it's that way across the board, that's how you end up with this homogenous view of fashion over and over and over again," Rems says.
Cruz's petition can be found at www.change.org/teenvogue.