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Category: Feminism, Girls, Media, WMC

Women’s Media Center Partner SPARK Summit Urges Teen Vogue to #KeepItReal

| July 12, 2012

SPARK Summit activists and Teen Vogue: Give Us Images of Real Girls petition starters Carina Cruz & Emma Stydahar working the #KeepItReal red carpet

Seventeen listened!  They’re saying they won’t use photoshop to digitally alter their models!” 

On July 3, Fourteen year-old Julia Bluhm was able to make this exclamation to the more than 84,000 signatories of her petition. Bluhm and her fellow Sexualization, Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge (SPARK) movement activists presented Seventeen Magazine with a petition asking them to show girls real pictures of themselves and commit to featuring one unaltered image a month. 

After the girls protested outside their offices and hand delivered the petition, Seventeen announced that it promised to “never change girls’ body or face shapes” when retouching images. An important step towards more positive media role models and healthier body image for teen girls was taken as the entire editorial staff signed a pledge outlined in the editor’s letter of Seventeen. But this was just the beginning of the revolution in the way girls see themselves across the girls’ magazine industry. Their focus now is on Teen Vogue.

Earlier this year, Vogue pledged to not work with underage models or models that appear to have an eating disorder. They also pledged to encourage their designers to provide more realistically sized samples for models’ outfits. While this was a great first step, SPARK wants Teen Vogue to take an even bigger step and follow Seventeen's example and pledge to not alter any model’s body or face and to celebrate beauty in all its forms.  While they have already reached 25,000 signatures, SPARK activists hit the red carpet in front of Teen Vogue’s headquarters earlier today in a mock fashion show to deliver a petition asking Teen Vogue to #KeepItReal.  Before the “catwalk” activism took place, the girls were media trained by Women’s Media Center (WMC) VP of Programs Jamia Wilson. Look forward to a video later this week with footage that WMC’s Video Manager Elisa Kreisinger captured throughout the event.  But for right now, look below for how you can get involved and check out some pictures from this morning’s event.

After marching down the “catwalk” in front of Teen Vogue’s office, Carina Cruz and Emma Stydahar, fellow SPARK activists, marched into the office to talk with Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Amy Astley. “We’re really hoping to try and get magazines to realize that they should have a diverse array of models,” said Cruz. While Seventeen quickly realized this, it seems that Teen Vogue is going to take more time. In recounting their meeting with Astley, Stydahar felt that the meeting was “a lot of telling us we hadn’t done our homework, and that Teen Vogue is a great magazine, who is being unfairly accused.”

In a statement made to ABC News, Teen Vogue said, “We feature dozens of non-models and readers every year and do not retouch them to alter their body size.” Following the meeting, Stydahar and Cruz remain committed to their goal of calling for a public pledge from Teen Vogue. Stydahar and Cruz will not give up and if you'd like to help them with their campaign please check out the links below.

As a member of SPARK’s leadership committee, The Women’s Media Center collaborates with hundreds of girls ages 13-22 and more than 60 national organizations to reject the commodified, sexualized images of girls in media and support the development of girls’ healthy sexuality and self-esteem.

For more information on Julia Bluhm and her campaign against Seventeen magazine, visit the Women’s Media Center Press Center here.

For more information on Emma Stydahar and Carina Cruz’s meeting with Teen Vogue please visit ABC News here.

To join the movement and sign the petition visit or click here.