I’m 21, 5’4”, 145 pounds and proud to be me. I once suffered the intensely despairing need of a teenage girl to be tall and skinny, but there was really nothing I could do to achieve that ideal; I have a masculine bone structure and arms that defeated every boy I ever arm-wrestled from elementary to high school. And now, I have come to embrace my body and my unfeminine strength. I am a Taekwondo black belt and a Brazilian Jiujitsu practitioner. I lift weights and eat like a guy. But I believe I am beautiful the way I am. It was a long and painful journey for me to reach that conclusion and I won’t deny that I still suffer days where I am not entirely content with my body.
And this doesn’t mean that I’m just going to stop working out to get fit and improve myself. In fact, working out without the constant nagging reason of needing to lose weight in order to be happy in my body is a very positive mindset and experience. I cannot stress enough the importance of a positive mentality in life.
Unfortunately, magazines for teenage girls (such as Seventeen) make it harder for girls to love their bodies because the pages are filled from cover to cover with blemish-free pictures of supermodels and celebrities who propagate a certain criteria for beauty. 14-year old Julia Bluhm started a petition to Seventeen asking that they publish ONE unedited photo spread each month to battle the photoshopped and airbrushed ideal of perfection and beauty that young girls are so susceptible to.
I admit I used to read Seventeen magazine, but I got tired of the shallowness of girls depicted within its pages. Most of the girls featured in the magazine were skinny with smooth, unmuscular-looking limbs (with the exception of this group of girls who were doing one of Seventeen’s weight loss challenges several years ago).
I signed this petition because I want to help make it a little bit easier for the next generation of girls to learn to love themselves. I would never wish that the magazine be discontinued for its detrimental effect on a girl’s self-esteem, but I would like to see the publication grow into something that empowers its vast readership of naïve young girls. If you agree, don’t hesitate to sign the petition now.