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Today in Boobs

14-Year-Old Girl Stages Photo Shoot Urging Seventeen Magazine To Stop Photoshopping Models

You may have already heard about the petition 14-year-old Julia Bluhm started. She asked Seventeen Magazine to commit to “printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month” because of how such doctored images can affect young girls. Well today, Bluhm and held a mock photo shoot in New York in a protest to encourage the magazine, and others, to get on board. Our sister site, The Jane Dough, was at the scene and got a chance to speak with Bluhm about her endeavor. 

Bluhm’s petition, now with over 44,000 signatures, had to do with the negative affects photoshopped models can have on young women, among them eating disorders, dieting, depression, and low self esteem.

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 photoshopped, air-brushed, 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.  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.  With SPARK, I’ve learned that we have the power to fight back.

The high school freshman is a fan of the magazine, and thinks they do a lot to help girls with body image issues, but than she knows they can do more.

“I know how much of an effect these photoshopped images in the media can have on girls,” Bluhm told The Jane Dough outside Seventeen offices today. “Girls see these pictures and think they have to look like this (pointing at cover of Seventeen) to be considered beautiful when in real life these photos are often photoshopped, so it’s kind of impossible to look like that in real life. It can lead to low self-esteem [and] depression.”

She also told The Jane Dough she knows exactly how it feels to think you’re not good enough, “I want girls to be able to feel good about themselves, and being able to relate to the images in the magazines we read will help.”

You can put your own name on the petition here.

(via The Jane Dough)


  • Anonymous

    This is treating the problem, not the cause. The truth is people today are okay with fake, if anything it comforts many to know that they don’t have to rely purely on their own natural looks to attain some standard that they feel others want from them. It isn’t a good thing, but it gives us an idea of the problem.

  • Natalie Kim

    Thanks for posting this article.  Love that these girls are addressing the problem of UNREALISTIC IMAGE EXPECTATIONS directly.  HOLLAA!!! ;-)

  • Travis Kyle Fischer

    Sounds like a good idea, but I doubt it’s going to have a huge impact. Photoshop doesn’t turn average girls into picture-perfect models. It takes lighting, posing, make-up, and an already extraordinary model to produce those unrealistic expectations.

    Model photography has been producing unrealistic expectations since long before Photoshop entered the scene. If they think that a “photoshop-less” spread is going to look substantially more “realistic” they’re going to be pretty disappointed.

  • Steve Waugh

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  • Eva Marie Heater

     This is a very good point.

  • Kaarel Jakobson

     What’s wrong with treating the problem? Full-blown social engineering is not a feasible possibility for a teenage girl, but this kind of statement is something she CAN do and quite possibly have some sort of effect.

  • relmneiko

    I hate how everyone blames photoshop for eating disorders and whatnot. Photoshop is art – you’re creating beauty, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows women in magazines are photoshopped: you might as well be comparing yourself to a painting, it’s not REAL. The problem is not the media: Americans like to avoid personal responsibility by blaming the media for everything. The problem is a culture that supports the idea that a woman’s only real value is in her body and looks. You can’t change that culture just by banning photoshop from magazines, ffs. Talk about treating the symptom and not the disease.

  • Laura

    Lighting and makeup can only take a person’s looks so far. As a graphic artist who used to Photoshoping the crap out of models in the past, you can litterally turn anyone into the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen. I know for a fact that you are underestimating how different the non-photoshoped images would be. I’ve met dozens of models, you wouldn’t recognize any of them on the street from their portfolio, except their first picture which isn’t supposed to be retouched in any way… then they would tell me to make it look like it hadn’t been worked on, but of course it was.

    All I ever wanted to be was an artist and at first it was therapeutic to see how women were transformed by Photoshop and I began to ignore the “ideal woman” presented in the media. It hit me like a ton of bricks to admit that I was part of the problem and I quit working on photo shoots. It’s been almost two years now and I’m still ashamed towards my fellow women and towards men for helping perpetuate an ideal that is literally impossible to attain.

    Please don’t nay-say on this issue. I swear on my honor that you are dead wrong, it would make a huge difference.

  • Anna B

    Looks will obviously matter in the first place, but I have friends who happen to be professional photographers and they always have to touch up the photos in photoshop before they send them to their clients. However much lighting, makeup, and angles can change things, the fact is, taking away photoshop will always make more realistic photos.  Always.

  • Anna B

    I think just like everything else, it’s a combination of everything.  You can’t control what parents teach their kids, but the ideas that media puts out can be shaped by the public.  Whether you like it or not, major media has an impact on culture.  I don’t think blame is what’s being assigned here, but responsibility is certainly being requested.

  • Anonymous

    as Sean implied I am dazzled that a student able to make $9187 in one month on the computer. did you look at this site ===>>

  • Vin Lemar

    Lol. As a male model living in NYC with PLENTY of friends that are models retouchers photographers etc. and as a photoshop user myself, I can say that YOU are wrong.

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  • Rori

    I second Laura, it’s utterly amazing what one can do with photo-manipulating technology and the talent/know-how to do it. Good luck to anyone who thinks otherwise, and may I interest you all in this really amazing bridge I have for sale ;)

  • Anonymous

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  • Travis Kyle Fischer

    Take away Photoshop and the good photographers are still going to take fantastic pictures of extremely attractive people. They may have to step up their game a bit and pictures still may not look as perfect as they would with post-production, but I would not call lowering the standard from “literally impossible” to “practically impossible” a huge step.

    A step in the right direction, sure, but it’s not going to stop somebody from feeling bad because the photo they took of themselves in the bathroom mirror with a cellphone doesn’t look like something off of a magazine cover. Photoshop or not, nobody is ever going to look as good as they look in a well-done photoshoot. That’s the photographer’s job. To make people look better than what they look like normally.

    What these girls really want is bad photography. They want to see what the models in the magazine look like on the street. Not just before photoshop, but before the lights, and the make-up, and the sets. They want to see the difference between the “before” and “after” because right now all they get to see is the “after” and that’s what skews their perspective.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for recalibrating the perception on what is and isn’t realistic for people to expect to look like. What I’m saying is that removing Photoshop from the equation isn’t going to go far enough to achieve that goal.