Stand up and #KeepItReal - speak out against photoshopped reality

Try to think of a woman, any woman who doesn't have body issues; the ones I know number less than the fingers of a single hand.  Weight is that mental parasite that infects our mind, our collective consciousness so early that it feels like the imaginary friend you never grow out of.  That imaginary life preserver, that bump on your thigh that you're convinced is cellulite, that supposed scar on your face that you just know everyone is staring at - we all have something we just love to hate.  Even if we have found peace with our bodies, we are encouraged to hate ourselves by our very peers.  You know what I mean - those girl nights straight out of a scene of Mean Girls where every girl picks a thing to hate on about herself in a shallow ploy to feel better for when another girl seeks to comfort her by one-upping with her own horrid body part.

Being a lover of all things fashion and makeup, I find myself bombarded with images of women more perfect than realistic.  Although I know in my mind I know that it's photoshopped to all hell, after about 10 of those images, my subconscious starts to feel a little shitty.  Why aren't my pores so tiny?  How come my calves are muscular instead colt-like?  Why am I so goddamn short?! See enough fake and it all starts to feel very real.

Something has to change and it all began with one 14 year old girl.

In case you hadn't heard the story, teen activist Julia Bluhm started a famous pledge to get Seventeen magazine to stop photo-shopping its models.  The campaign went viral and gained attention worldwide.  Inspired by this youth's revolutionary act, the filmmakers behind Miss Representation, the Spark Movement, and I Am That Girl are teaming up for a 3 day call to social media action called the #KeepItReal campaign to ask print magazines that they pledge to feature at least one non-photo-shopped image of a model per issue.  Here's the deets:

As summer begins and teenagers wrap up school, the “bikini body” pressure is on. Instead of young girls pushing themselves to fit into a swimsuit, this social media campaign will inspire them to challenge the media creators who propagate unrealistic images of young girls and women, and encourage them to enjoy their summer in other more positive ways. Studies show that after reading a teen or womenʼs magazine, girls report feeling worse about their bodies and express a desire to lose weight. Eating disorders are the the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-24 (National Eating Disorder Organization 2012).

Inspired by 14 year old SPARK activist Julia Bluhmʼs successful petition demanding that Seventeen Magazine print one non-photoshopped model spread per issue, the campaign will continue to focus on this simple request.

The campaign will launch as a Facebook event where supporters can RSVP, comment, and collaborate. Each day of the challenge will be centered on a different online action. 

On day one (June 27th) Twitter users will use hashtag #KeepItReal, directly asking magazines to pledge to change their practices around photoshopping bodies. 

During day two (June 28th) participants will create a blogging firestorm – personally reflecting on how unrealistic images of beauty have impacted them. 

And on the final day three (June 29th), via Instagram, users will post their own photos of “real beauty” to be entered in the #KeepitRealChallenge – with selected photos to be featured on a billboard in New York City later this year.

Taken collectively, the social media campaign will serve as a massive wake-up call for the entire media industry as ordinary citizens speak up about the harmful effects of photoshopping images of people.

Join us for this three-day event at or SPARKSummit

If you have a sister, a friend, a mother, a daughter, let her know that she is real and she is beautiful by joining this global wave of action!

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  1. i sometimes worry about this stuff as kayla grows but i think i may have found an answer: sports. every girl (and guy) i know who was involved in some form of fitness not only had minimal body issues but they also got into less trouble! i was talking about this with my girlfriends who also have daughters and we all agree that enrolling our girls in sports is going to be our weapon against self-esteem issues and partying too much. not sure if this is going to work but i'm going to give it a try (i've already enrolled her in ballet and gymnastics which she loves).

    i've never had many issues with my body, even from when i was a kid. if i didn't like something, i'd just change it and keep working at it until it changed.

    i do agree though; there are too many girls these days who think too negatively of themselves and will often go to drastic measures to get to a body type that is portrayed in the media that they find "beautiful". it's sad, really, that they can't find that beauty within themselves.

    1. Wow how'd you manage to never have any body issues growing up? So lucky! I think it's a common thing amongst women from what I've seen; rather than pick ourselves up and move on, we like to wallow in our misery and can't see the solution, which is ourselves.

  2. There shouldn't be any photoshopped pics. Honestly, the most beautiful women I've seen are all real women, not models or stars.

  3. i never really understood the concept of photoshopping? why dont we just synthesize models from a computer then

  4. I love this post, and admire your part in spreading the word. Although i haven't officially joined the event i'll try and post something for the 28th.


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