Seventeen Magazine Promises to Never Change Girls’ Face or Body Shapes

Campaign led by 14-year-old girl pays off, magazine changes policy

Seventeen Magazine is taking active steps towards helping girls and young women have better self-esteem and a healthier body image. Editor in chief Ann Shoket has pledged to never allow retouched photos on the pages of the publication.

Of course, some form of retouching will still be present, but always only to clean up a messy image (stray hairs, folds on clothes, misplaced objects, etc.) and never to alter a girl's body or face shape, the New York Times informs.

The change in policy (officially though, Shoket insists faces and bodies were never altered digitally in spreads) comes after a campaign initiated by a 14-year-old blogger who realized how much the girls in her ballet class complained about being “fat,” especially after reading a magazine like Seventeen.

Shoket says she heard of the campaign directly from all those “who were concerned that we’d strayed from our promise to show real girls as they really are.”

Consequently, she and her team came up with what they call the Body Peace Treaty, a pact that sees the magazine promise it will “never change girls’ body or face shapes,” and will only display images of “real girls and models who are healthy.”

“It also said it would provide more transparency about its photo shoots by posting images of the shoots on the magazine’s Tumblr blog so readers could see the progression of the pictures,” the NY Times writes.

One such example is the photo attached to this article, which provides information on the changes operated on the photo in post-production. They obviously do not alter the model's face or body.

“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,” Shoket says.

Seventeen's decision to be more transparent about its photos was embraced with delight by the community and the almost 100,000 girls who signed the petition that led to this change.

“The retouching of photographs to improve a subject’s appearance has long been a source of debate and anguish in the magazine industry. Editors often speak of balancing the pressures of presenting authentic photographs while also showing subjects in a way that can attract and inspire readers,” the NY Times underlines.

As we speak, a new campaign is seeking to get Teen Vogue to do the same.

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