I used to tell my daughter that she could read fashion magazines as long as she understood that everything in them, the articles and the ads, was intended to make her feel bad about her looks and buy a lot of stuff she did not need. Now a 14-year-old girl has persuaded one of the most successful and influential magazines for teenagers to show girls as they really are, with all of the photos in the magazine showing “real girls and models who are healthy,” and promising to “celebrate every kind of beauty.” I especially like their commitment to putting pictures from their photo shoots on Tumblr so girls can see the edits and their promise not to make changes to the models’ faces or bodies.
Julia Bluhm started an online petition after girls in her ballet class were complaining that they were fat. With 25,000 signatures in just a few days, she made a compelling case and Seventeen invited Bluhm and her mother to visit them. Bluhm says she will now work on Teen Vogue. This is a wonderfully empowering development, not just because it will show girls more realistic models but because it shows girls they can make a difference on issues that concern them. Hurray for Julia Bluhm!