May, 8, 2012
Published in The NY Times by JIM DWYER
“In Julia Bluhm’s ballet class, girls arrived and often declared that they were having a fat day. Or that their skin was pimply or blemished. Or that they looked disgusting. When she hears complaints in her middle school, where she is in the eighth grade, Julia said, she has one answer: “Are you crazy?”
Then, she said, she came up with another answer, thumbing through one of her favorite magazines, Seventeen.
“I look at the pictures and they just don’t look like girls I see walking down the street and stuff,” said Julia, who turned 14 last month.
A blogger for the last year with Spark, a project that fights the sexualization of girls, Julia had given the subject some thought, and talked it over with the other bloggers. Then she started an online petition drive through Change.org asking Seventeen to “commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month.”
“We brought Seventeen magazine to lunch and showed it to a bunch of kids to see if they agreed with the petition,” she said. “A lot of them signed it.”
Julia said the unreal pictures of girls were trouble for boys, as well. “It shows them unrealistic images of girls,” she said. “Also, a lot of the boys in Seventeen magazine have, like, 12-packs, and that’s definitely not very realistic either.”