Last week, the Keep It Real campaign inspired thousands to challenge mainstream magazines to publish one unphotoshopped image of beauty per issue. After reaching over 1.5 million people on Twitter with our tweets, leading a day of blogging across the web, and receiving hundreds photos of “real beauty” via our Instagram contest, today we heard the first major response to this amazing display of collective action: Seventeen Magazine has publicly pledged to never digitally alter the faces or bodies of people pictured in their magazine.
The August issue of Seventeen – the same publication 8th grader and SPARK activist Julia Bluhm called-out earlier this year with a petition that garnered over 85,000 signatures – features a letter from Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket, who writes:
“While we work hard behind the scenes to make sure we’re being authentic, your notes made me realize that it was time for us to be more public about our commitment. So we created a Body Peace Treaty for the magazine staff – a list of vows on how we run things here so we always make you feel amazing!”
The treaty promises to “celebrate every kind of beauty in our pages”:
The primary goal of #KeepItReal – a collaborative effort with SPARK Movement, LoveSocial, Endangered Bodies and I Am That Girl – is to encourage both magazines and consumers to acknowledge the difference between real and computer-generated beauty. We want to stop the media from perpetuating a false ideal for women and girls (because we know the consequences).
Seventeen took a huge step by including with their letter a “before” and “after” photo that clearly illustrates Photoshop alterations. By pointing out manipulations – removing flyaway hair, a bra strap, smoothing a wrinkle in the shirt, and changing the color of the background – Seventeen is showing readers that their images of beauty never begin as perfect as they seem on the page. The magazine is continuing this effort by posting behind-the-scenes information on their Tumblr to further pull back the curtain on photo shoots.
They’ve also pledged to include a diversity of body types and skin tones in all future issues – a significant move towards establishing more inclusive standards of beauty in the media.
We’ll hold the magazine to these promises, but we also want to celebrate Seventeen for taking some responsibility for their impact on society. Now it’s time to get others to do the same! Glamour and Marie Claire have already expressed interest in discussing their use of photoshop further, but too many others have remained silent.
We’ve updated our easy to use list of Twitter handles so you can ask these magazines to follow Seventeen’s lead in representing real beauty with the click of a button:
Sign this SPARK petition to join thousands in discouraging the use of excessive Photoshop in Teen Vogue specifically.
It’s time to create a new industry standard for magazines: open and honest communication about their use of Photoshop to manipulate the faces and bodies of people.