Julia Bluhm organized a petition to Seventeen magazine asking that they provide girls with more realistic images of beauty. This article shares the fact that Seventeen has agreed, making a Body Peace Treaty with girls that guarantees that they won’t use photo editing to alter girls’ faces or bodies.
This event is important for two reasons. First, because this campaign began and was organized by an adolescent girl. She was tired of hearing her friends complain about their body size and weight, and decided to set up a petition on change. org. The fact that Julia was able to express her own perspective and be heard at a national level is hugely important for young consumer activists. From now on, whenever a child or adolescent thinks about wanting to try to make real change, Julia will be an inspiration to them.
Secondly, Seventeen listened to their target audience. As activists, parents, and child development experts have fought sexualization and stereotypes this past year, we’ve run up against several companies that just don’t seem to care what their target audience thinks, believes, or wants. But the fact that Seventeen has committed to being more transparent to their audience about how they use image altering technology builds a strong case that companies can respond positively to consumer feedback, and most likely benefit from it. Lego didn’t go this far, but their decision to meet with activists who had campaigned against their gendered advertising set a positive example for other companies as well.
I hope that the success of Julia’s campaign will spur other young activists to action. Share this story with your own kids, and encourage them to get out there and make a difference. Now, the pressure is on Teen Vogue!