This past spring, Julie Bluhm, 14, of Maine, began petitioning the editors of Seventeen to stop altering the images of the girls pictured in the magazine.
"Here’s what lots of girls don’t know,” Bluhm wrote. “Those 'pretty women' that we see in magazines are fake. They’re often photo shopped, 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."
Editors did not officially apologize for past practices or even acknowledge altering any images, but after 85,000 people signed Ms. Bluhm’s petition, the magazine has pledged to never polish up any photographs. They’ve also released what they’re calling the “Body Peace Treaty” in the current issue. Readers are invited to put their name to such statements as:
I vow to remember it’s OK to eat one too many slices of pizza or an extra scoop of ice cream.
I vow to quit judging others on how they look even if it seems harmless cause I’d never want anyone to do that to me.
I vow to realize that a mirror reflects what’s on the outside, not who I’m on the inside.
I'm not recommending the magazine, but this is a good thing, of course, and it’s hoped that other magazines will follow suit. In fact, teen activists have now turned their attention to such publications as Teen Vogue.
Teens in general and young women in particular are especially vulnerable to developing eating disorders, many of which spring up after being inundated with images of the “perfect” figure. As parents we should be paying close attention to our child’s behavior all the time, but experts have identified specific factors that increase the likelihood of developing an eating disorder. They include:
· definition of self in terms of appearance
· being overweight
· feeling helpless and in need of having control
· difficulty in managing emotions
· social anxiety and lack of social skills
· genetic predisposition (family history)
· pressure in sports
Focus on the Family’s counselors would consider it a privilege to talk with you if you suspect that you or one of your children needs help in this area. Please just give us a call at 1-800-232-6459.
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About Jim Daly
Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. He is husband to Jean and father to Trent and Troy.
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