Does Teen Vogue digitally zap zits? The magazine’s photos of young women are at the center of a growing squall, sparked by a pair of teenagers who have asked the magazine to show more “real girls.” The magazine says it does not digitally alter anyone’s body size and that it shows a slew of real girls. It declines to say whether it removes facial flaws. The result: a public-relations nightmare.
The debate started when two teens in New York, Emma Stydahar and Carina Cruz,launched a petition on the site Change.org in early July, asking the magazine to “pledge not to alter body or face size in your models and to celebrate beauty in all its forms.” The petition continued, “It’s time for an end to the digitally enhanced, unrealistic beauty we see in the pages of magazines.”
Stydahar, a 17-year-old in New York’s Westchester County, says she used to be “really into Teen Vogue,” but stopped reading it several years ago because she found it “such a depressing experience.” She says she flipped through a recent issue and found that “it was exactly the same—super-skinny white models, with just a few variations in ethnicity. I don’t look like this. My friends don’t look like this.” She says she herself has acne scars from picking at her face in attempt to create perfection. “We want to know when a zit has been taken out of a photo,” she says, “so girls won’t think this is what their skin should look like at 14 or 15.” She says she did not contact the magazine before starting the petition.
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