In the August issues of Teen Vogue and Seventeen, thin white women dominate. While one issue of a magazine does not reflect a year’s worth of content, The Daily Beast conducted an informal study to get a general sense of the images. On the editorial pages of Teen Vogue in August, we counted 95 images that include white women and 19 images that include ethnically diverse women. On the editorial pages of Seventeen in August, we counted 154 images that include white women and 72 images that include ethnically diverse women. The cover of Seventeen features a Filipino-Spanish-Irish actress named Shay Mitchell. On the cover of Teen Vogue are Spider Man stars Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield.
“Teens hate hypocrisy,” says Steiner-Adair of the imbalanced images. “If you’re really trying to sell beauty and body acceptance, walk the walk.”
Following our super fun faux fashion show demonstration asking Teen Vogue to pledge in the pages of their magazine never to alter models’ faces or bodies, we had a meeting with them. And sadly, it didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. But we’re not giving up!
The SPARK representatives–petition starters Carina and Emma alongside our Executive Director Dana Edell–met the staff the magazine for less than five minutes, and the staff made no mention of the campaign or the magazine’s photoshoot process. Instead, they gave Emma and Carina copies of Teen Vogue and told them to use it to “learn about the magazine,” as though we didn’t already know about it–I’m a Teen Vogue subscriber!
This was obviously disappointing to us, but we will still continue on our mission to get Teen Vogue to stop altering the appearances of the girls in their magazine. Teen Vogue has an incredibly large readership that supports them immensely, and now it’s time for the magazine to do the same for their readership. Teen Vogue has the power to change how girls feel about their bodies when they read their magazine, and they can lead other publications to do the same. People (including you, reader!) can continue to support our cause to help teen girls everywhere by signing our petition to have Teen Voguemake a commitment in the pages of their magazine to never altering models’ bodies or faces. We want people to stand up for teen girls and help us get Teen Vogue to do the right thing; they affect the lives of their readership in so many ways, and we want them to use this ability in a good way. They have the choice to be the heroes in this story; help them make that decision.
NAILED IT: following SPARK’s campaign, led by 14 year old activist Julia Bluhm, Seveenteen Magazine has committed to NEVER altering the faces or bodies of girls in their magazines and to showing true diversity in their pages. This is a HUGE DEAL for the US magazine industry and now two other SPARK activists, Carina and Emma, are asking Teen Vogue to follow suit and start building a better media landscape for girls.
We’re excited to see how these changes manifest in the pages of Seventeen, and we’re counting on the girls who read these mags—the girls who demanded change!—to really hold them accountable for these promises.
ETA: Since this has come up—we know that Seventeen is saying that they “never have and never will” digitally alter girls’ bodies, but fifteen minutes with any issue of Seventeen will prove that that’s just not true. Dang, sometimes you don’t even have to open the magazine to see it! If the images in the magazine and on the cover don’t change, it’ll now be much, much easier for readers to hold Seventeen accountable to their promises. That’s important, and also excellent news—because at the end of the day, magazines SHOULD be accountable to their readers, not to advertisers or the beauty industry.
Who wears short shorts? Fat girls wear short shorts. Also, upper right? Unintentional and too funny. #KeepItRealChallenge (Taken with Instagram)
We are LOVIN’ all of the photos submitted to the Keep It Real Challenge! You can see some of them here, and check out the #keepitrealchallenge tag on Instagram for more!
"We’re on to you. We know you’re not really selling us magazines."
"I used to draw myself as a white girl in my first grade journal, until I realized that I didn’t look like that and it was OK—it was more than OK."
My sister Melissa is 9 years old, and has Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a form of muscular dystrophy that in particular, affects her peripheral nerves in her hands and legs. She wears leg braces and uses a walker. But she, and every other girl out there, deserves to know that she is beautiful, which, as cliche as it sounds, is from the inside out.
There are many types of girls, of all skin colors, ability levels, body shapes, and backgrounds. Yet our culture worships one standard of beauty—that of the fashion magazines, loaded with hypersexualized advertisements featuring only tall, thin, Caucasian women.
My sister Melissa may not fit their standards, but the reality is that all girls look to the world around them to appraise their own worth. As she enters the difficult transition of the preteen years, I want to forge a better world that will judge her for the value of her thoughts, not how she looks or walks. I want her to keep her confidence in herself and the abilities that she DOES possess.
"Cosmo, Seventeen, you gotta shape up—and not in the way you usually mean it, but uh, in ethical and journalistic standards, you gotta shape up."
After a wildly successful Day 1 of the Keep It Real Challenge asking magazines to drop idealized image editing—both Lucky Mag and Marie Claire publicly showed support!—it’s time for Day 2: blog-o-rama!
We have three written pieces & several vlogs going up today about image retouching, body image, magazines, and media, and we want YOU to contribute! Submit posts to us, send us the link to a post or video you’ve posted elsewhere, or tag your related tumblr posts with #keepitreal & we’ll reblog and tweet about your pieces. You can also post your pieces in the Facebook event!