Julia Bluhm, 14, is an eighth grader from rural Waterville, Maine. She loves ballet and attends class six days a week. She is also gaining national attention as an activist who is challenging the media to take responsibility for the way it warps girls' self-esteem.
"I've always noticed how a lot of the images in magazines look photo-shopped," Bluhm tells Yahoo! Shine. She wants all girls to feel comfortable in their own skin. "Girls shouldn't compare themselves to pictures in magazines," she says. "Because they are fake."
Eleven days ago, she launched a petition to ask one of her favorite magazines, Seventeen, to feature one un-retouched photo shoot a month. "They have already done a lot to help girls improve their body image. Their Body Peace feature is great. I thought that they could take it one step further with an unaltered photo spread." This morning, she is leading a protest outside of Seventeen's offices in Manhattan which will include a mock fashion shoot."I'm a little nervous. But excited."
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Julia BluhmBluhm started blogging about girls and self-esteem a year ago when she joined SPARK, a non-profit organization for 13 to 22 year-olds that calls itself a "girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media." One of SPARKS' recent accomplishments was to get a meeting to with top LEGO executives to discuss, among other issues, the LEGO Friends line of toys which they say are demeaning to girls. However, the petition is, as Bluhm puts it, "my first big action."
Her petition on change.org reads:
"To girls today, the word 'pretty' means skinny and blemish-free. Why is that, when so few girls actually fit into such a narrow category? It's because the media tells us that 'pretty' girls are impossibly thin with perfect skin.
( Real life vs. the media )