Body Image – Are We Finally Comfortable In Our Own Skin?

Hitting the headlines this week are the schoolgirls protesting against magazine airbrushing, it has been said many times over that magazine images are not real enough, that it gives everyone not just teens a unrealistic image to live up to. The petition started in April by 14 year old Julia Bluhm who staged a protest against Seventeen Magazine’s use of Photoshop has been seen all over the news as she triumphed in her campaign.  She received an astounding 84,000 signatures, 6,000 of these where obtained in just 10 days ( which has been such a success that Seventeen Magazine has vowed to never alter or airbrush models bodies again to blemish free or tiny proportions.

Seventeen’s editor-in-chief, Ann Shoket, responded to the campaign in the magazine’s latest issue with a letter to readers, vowing that the magazine will never change the shapes of girls’ bodies or faces.”

The editor-in-chief confirmed a lot of readers had contacted them with worries that they were digitally editing photos and were they taking it too far.  Teenagers gathered outside Seventeen magazine’s New York office to protest Seventeen Magazines use of airbrushing just two months ago, Julia started the online petition in hoping it would change teen magazines photoshopping policies, Could this be the future for other magazines as well? . She wanted to promote a more positive and realistic image to teenager readers, if you remember your teenage years of fitting in to that certain criteria and the pressures your were under I’m sure we can all agree its hard enough living up to your own ideals let alone how the world thinks you should look as well. After this victory she has set her sights on tackling Teen Vogue by starting a new online petition asking them to follow in the footsteps of Seventeen Magazine by pledging not to alter any model’s body or face and to celebrate beauty in all its forms. Julia is teenager not only a teenager wise beyond her years but willing to speak out against and make a difference to a worry that has plagued more than one of us in our lifetime.

In the latest issue of Seventeen Magazine Ms Shokot’s letter to readers also provides insight into the magazine’s photography and why it decided to create a Body Peace Treaty, endorsed by the National Eating Disorders Association and the Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls, which it hopes will help young girls stop obsessing about their bodies. The treaty contains eight conditions that Seventeen magazine’s staff must abide by, including ‘never change girls’ body or face shapes (Never have, never will). Instead they will be celebrating very real girls, hoping that low self-esteem issues can become a thing of the past, as everyone just wants to be accepted for who they are.

“The treaty says the magazine will ‘celebrate every kind of beauty in our pages. Without a range of body types, skin tones, heights, hair textures, the magazine and the world would be boring.”

Are issues such as over airbrushing and altering becoming a thing of the past?, I’d like to think so but its a case of one step at a time and hoping that real beauty in been yourself will win through in the end. With girls like this campaigning for change we are getting closer to that goal that there is no ideal right or wrong way to look.