Last week, a 14-year-old girl declared victory in her campaign to convince Seventeen magazine to incorporate images of "Real Girls" into its pages. What she gained (besides lots of press coverage) isn't completely clear; Julia Bluhm petitioned Seventeen to cut down on Photoshopped images by printing "one unaltered photo spread" per month, and editor-in-chief Ann Shoket responded by vowing to readers the magazine would "help make your life amazing!" and "give you the confidence to walk into any room and own it."
Shoket did not vow to alter the magazine's Photoshop policy or commit to printing one unaltered photo spread per month.
Emboldened by this victory flavored non-change, two young women from the "girl-fueled activist movement" SPARK drafted a petition asking Teen Vogue to "pledge not to alter any model's body or face and to celebrate beauty in all its forms."
Oh, my God.
Maybe these girls should have spent a little less time maintaining a healthy body image and growing up to be thoughtful, productive members of society and a little more time watching The Devil Wears Prada so many times they can quote Meryl Streep's cerulean monologue from memory.
"It was kind of shocking how rude they were to us."
(Astley reportedly met with the girls "for five minutes" to give them copies of Teen Vogue, the magazine whose policies they were protesting, and sent them on their way.)
This is not that glorified J.C. Penney circular Seventeen. This is not blue, this is not turquoise, this is not lapis. This is Teen Vogue. A sartorial holy book handed down from benevolent Anna Wintour to educate the unwashed masses of girls not yet old enough to understand the pictures of dresses and accessories in Vogue proper.
You do not set the standards for Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue sets the standards for you and, quite frankly, finds you lacking.
Unlike Seventeen, which buried its commitment to not changing any policies deep in a PR-friendly girl power explosion, Teen Vogue just let the young idealists know right up front it was not trying to hear any of that noise.
Here's the magazine's response to the healthy body image complaint (minus a line about the "dozens" of non-models it has featured), via spokeswoman Erin Kaplan:
"Teen Vogue makes a conscious and continuous effort to promote a positive body image among our readers."
In other words: If you want a magazine featuring images of girls who look like you, make a scrapbook.
Teen Vogue out.