Fashion Bytes — Petitioning Teen Vogue

As reported by both The Guardian and New York Daily News, a group of teenage girls staged a protest outside of Teen Vogue last week. Staging a “red carpet fashion show”, and armed with a petition signed by 28,000 other young women they were hoping to change Teen Vogue‘s tendency to airbrush photos, and show only extremely slender models, of limited ethnicity. A similar protest at Seventeen in May ended in a “Body Peace Treaty”, with the editor of Seventeen pledging to use less airbrushing and show more models that “real” young women can identify with. The young women protesting at Teen Vogue, however, were given only five minutes of that magazine editor’s time and sent away with copies of the magazine “to study”. One of the main protestors, 17 year-old Emma Stydahar, was insulted. “We have done our homework,” she said, “That’s why we started this campaign…”

The United Kingdom has already enacted laws to limit airbrushing in advertisements, banning Lancome and Maybelline ads featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington for “being overly airbrushed” last year. Arizona was considering similar legislation in February of this year. According to Miss Stydahar, 75% of young women who read fashion magazines have negative body images and become depressed within “three minutes” of opening the publications. Fashion, and more often fashion magazines, are frequently cited as sources of negative body image and insecurities among young — and not-so-young — women in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, among others. Fashion Bytes discussed the issue of runway models under the age of sixteen back in February.

What are your thoughts on the protest? Did Teen Vogue dismiss and patronize Emma Stydahar and her fellow protestors? What could they gain by doing so? What do you think of these young women’s campaign efforts? Are fashion magazines and the fashion industry really as much at fault as these articles frequently suggest? Or are they only part of a larger problem? How much do fashion images and airbrushed or photoshopped advertisements affect not only teenage girls, but adults? Does airbrushing in cosmetics and skincare ads constitute false advertising? What are your opinions regarding the allegation that Teen Vogue does not feature a great enough diversity of models? What do you think about the fact that that argument is lost underneath the weight and airbrushing discussions? If fashion and fashion media are part of the problem, how can it be fixed?

Please share your thoughts.

Image via New York Daily News.

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1 Comment

  • mike December 18, 2014 11.43 pm

    Pathetically sad, ain’t it? I worked in commercial printing for almost two decades and let me tell you, its an education! EVERY female model I ever saw printed was photoshop’d. Every one. It might have been something as simple as making every single blemish or imperfection of skin disappear or major as making thirty pounds go away by shaving inches off of arms, bellies and thighs.

    Height s changes, skin tone and color is changed, the list goes on! The ONLY WAY to change this is to enact laws to force them to change, or for them to be so afraidvthat laws will be enacted that they take advanced personal responsibility to keep that from hppening.

    Why? Money. Its ALWAYS about money. They will always do what they think will make them more money! If you can prove that doing it a different way will make them more money then you will have a winner! A group might create two test magazines with models, making the magazine similar to the target that you’re after …one done just like the ts always done and one with no photo editing, then put them in front of focus groups to find out what people think and what people would buy.

    Just my humble opinion. As a guy speaking, you might leave most of us out of the focus groups, I only flip through fashion mags to look at the girls, not what anyone is wearing 😉


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