Maine teen asks Seventeen Magazine to stop altering women’s photos

A Maine teenager is making her voice heard via popular petition website Change.org. Julia Bluhm, a Waterville eighth-grader, has started a petition asking Seventeen Magazine to commit to printing one unaltered photo spread per month. In other words, to stop altering photos of models to make them appear slimmer. Bluhm, who after school dances ballet, is well aware of the pressures society places on women to look a certain way.

“I’m a teenage girl, and I know how it feels to think you’re not good enough,” the 14-year-old said in a recent press release. “I want girls to be able to feel good about themselves, and being able to relate to the images in the magazines we read will help.”

Glamour Magazine made headlines recently after it announced it was stop publishing photoshopped images of models and celebrities. Bluhm hopes Seventeen, whose target audience is teenage girls, will follow suit.

“I started this petition to help girls see that they’re not alone,” Bluhm added. “Seventeen Magazine is supposed to be a relatable magazine, right? How can we relate to computer altered photos? Seventeen is popular with my friends and lots of teen girls. If they agree to print one unaltered spread a month, they could start a trend that will help so many girls like me feel better about their bodies.”

Bluhm’s petition already has garnered nearly 8,000 signatures. In addition to ballet, Bluhm is also a blogger for SPARK Movement, an organization that promotes “a girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media.” SPARK’s founders and staffers include Colby College professor Lyn Mikel Brown, Hardy Girls Healthy Women president Megan Williams and Maine senate candidate Dana Hernandez.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.