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Teen Campaign for Real Images

03 Jun

A former editor at Seventeen Magazine has announced her support for 14-year-old Julia Bluhm’s campaign on asking the magazine to take steps to promote positive body image among girls. Bluhm’s petition on has garnered more than 60,000 signatures since its launch in April.



Dede Lehman, a former editor at Seventeen Magazine, joined Julia’s campaign on after reading about the high-profile mock photoshoot the teenager staged in front of Seventeen headquarters last week. 


Lehman says she left the magazine industry because she felt her young readers deserved better than gratuitously altered images.


“As a former Seventeen editor and advice columnist, I fought for more realistic images for our readers,” said Lahman. “Eventually, I quit and traveled nationwide, speaking about what the magazine did to make our models look perfect and how to decode the misleading advertising and stay grounded in reality.”


“I stopped doing this work over a decade ago, but after reading about Julia’s campaign in the New York Times this past Friday, I had to voice support for her petition,” continued Lahman. “In an ideal world, Julia wouldn’t need to request one unaltered photo spread a month, because unaltered photos would already be the norm. However, in the glossy world of magazines, truth and beauty are not always one and the same. I think a reasonable first step for Seventeen to take toward Julia’s ultimate goal would be to do a behind-the-scenes piece about how a photo shoot comes together. After all, girls can only run the world if they're privy to its tricks.”


Last Wednesday, Bluhm delivered her petition signatures to Seventeen Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket following her mock photo shoot. According to Bluhm, Shocket refused to commit to running one unaltered photo spread per month but promised to stay in touch to work on an unnamed project to promote positive body image among the magazine’s readers. When later pressed by the New York Times, Shocket declined to answer whether or not the magazine digitally alters images of its models.


“Dede Lahman’s decision to support Julia is a testament to how deeply Julia’s campaign is resonating across the world,” said Senior Campaigner Shelby Knox. “ is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Julia’s campaign take off.”


Julia’s campaign on has been covered by major news outlets across the country, including the New York Times, CNN, Nightline and The Guardian. 


Live signature totals from Julia Bluhm’s campaign:

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