Real Women, Real Pictures

5 Jul

Seventeen Magazine has pledged to no longer air-brush the models in their pages. The entire staff has also signed a pledge to celebrate all kinds of beauty with a range of skin tones, body types, heights and hair textures. See the letter from Seventeen’s editor in chief here and check out their behind the scenes here.

This is also a huge win for the Miss Representation campaign and shows the power of social media. 14-year old Julia Bluhm asked Seventeen to post one unaltered spread in each issue – and the campaign took off. SPARK teamed up with Miss Representation, LoveSocial and I Am That Girl for the #KeepItRealCampaign. This gained support from thousands of people on Twitter, Instagram and blogs asking women’s and girls’ magazines to stop Photoshopping women’s bodies. And the masses won.

So what now?

Get Teen Vogue on board by signing this petition.

Take the Miss Representation pledge “to use my voice to spread the message of Miss Representation and challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls” and ACT on it.

7 Responses to “Real Women, Real Pictures”

  1. Sue Hansford at 8:34 pm #

    I feel a titch guilty as I read the emails above – I enjoy buying junk magazines, but do agree they do not represent your average woman nor do they represent the diversity of our population. I do think gains are being made in some mags as they widen their articles to meet the needs of their readers (ie. Chatelaine). I am probably dating myself. I think sadly that this issue is of even greater intensity for young women today than it was for me growing up. Good to see all of you interested in trying to make changes! Good luck with it.

  2. Taylor Hansford at 7:21 pm #

    I honestly don’t believe this one bit. In terms of women of all sizes, the fact of the matter is, the fashion world is stuck in the size 0 mentality and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. What makes me sad, is that most “plus-sized” models, are actually “average” North American women (ie. sizes 6-12).
    In terms of the race card and hair texture component of their pledge, I laugh at this. This is an issues I honestly never paid a huge amount of mind to (I always was mindful, but not in a meaningful way). Now, since having a biracial child, I am constantly skimming through magazines, advertisements, even commercials – looking for the non-white component. Most times, there’s one to two non-white people in commercials/ads, and about 10 or more white – to me, this is not even, and this does not reflect the growing non-white majority especially in the US.
    Also, when ads/magazines often include Black people into their ads, they are oftentimes lighter skinned, as hollywood has this negative beauty ideal of Black women, wherein, if they’re “too” dark, they can’t be considered beautiful. So I bet that Seventeen will of course add more non-white models (particularly black models), but that they will all be lighter, and of that ambidextrous skin complexion that always has people guessing their nationality.
    The same goes for hair texture – I am DYING to see more tightly curled and afro women/children in magazines, ads and commercials, but sadly, most often when black women are portrayed in the media, their hair is straightened or relaxed. So I doubt that Seventeen will include natural-hair models either.
    Anyways, I too, am very skeptical of this pledge.

    • kylamckee at 7:31 pm #

      Thanks for your insights Tay – especially pointing out that a lot of media use “tokenism” and not a real representation of diversity. And I like the point you bring up about women being “too”dark. Since Seventeen has pledged to never lighten a model’s skin tone, they may get around this by instead only hiring models with the ambidextrous skin tone that you mention.

      Since you are so skeptical of this pledge, do you think that there is a better way to put pressure on the media? How can women ask to see real sizes, real diversity and real and natural hair in magazines and other media outlets?

  3. Daniel Chevalier at 7:16 pm #

    That’s awesome 🙂 It’s good to see that some magazines are making an effort to reduce air brushing. I worked as a cashier for a number of years and I’ve spent many hours staring at the magazine racks opposite my till and their rotating cast of heavily air-brushed girls. Sometimes I would flip the magazines around so that people would be less inclined to buy them (partly because I hate airbrushing and partly because I hate gossip mags), but now I have much less of a problem selling these magazines knowing that they don’t have any airbrushing in them.

    • kylamckee at 7:33 pm #

      Haha Dan that is so funny that you would hide magazines!! I sincerely hope that other magazines, and eventually all media outlets, follow suit and show real women (and men!)

  4. heatherinhanoi at 1:46 am #

    reading news like this quite simply makes me so happy. Although I am trying my best to love my body, my skin, etc., seeing pictures of flawless women in magazines always makes me a little anxious and sadly disappointed about my body. It would be so empowering and encouraging to see women in magazines that I can relate to–women who are of average size (which in Canada is a size 10-12), have skin that isn’t even close to perfect (or at the very least have pores), and so on!

    Although employees have signed a pledge to celebrate all beauty, I wonder if we will actually see this represented in the women chosen to be featured in the magazine. I sure hope so, because I would love to see unaltered pictures of women with varying ethnicities, abilities, gender expressions, etc.

    • kylamckee at 2:00 pm #

      Thanks Heather – and this is more of a feel good post than most of mine! And I agree – it would be great to see women in the media that reflect my reality. Not to say that fitness should be excluded in magazines either though! I would like to see realistic fitness ideas and suggestions for healthy meals and lifestyles.

      I am also a little skeptical – I’ll have to keep an eye on their blog though because I ended my subscription to Seventeen when I was… probably seventeen.

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