Online petition to make women's mags tell truth

Online petition to make women's mags tell truth

Fri August 17, 2012 11:34am

THE moment teenage girls start reading magazines such as Cleo and Cosmopolitan everything in their social sphere changes, says the young woman campaigning to have the mags change their ways.

Jessica Barlow has called on Cleo magazine to lead the way for other young women's magazines, creating a petition that has so far gathered 9,219 signatures.

The petition is asking Cleo to “print one unaltered photo spread per month, and to put a disclaimer on any image that has been digitally altered such that the appearance or shape of a person has been changed.”

Barlow said before she and her peers graduated from Dolly and Girlfriend to the older, more racy publications, they all got on well. But the raunchy, image-driven mags set once friendly teens against each other.

In a piece for The Punch today, Ms Barlow writes:

"It sounds ridiculous now, but when the culture bred by women’s magazines is your daily reality, it’s hard not to get sucked in and think that it is anything but normal.

"The magazines inspired us to compete with each other, and the competition was anything but healthy. As a freckly girl with pale skin, pimples and braces for a time, I struggled to match my appearance to those of retouched models in the magazines. All the girls at my school were either trying to look beautiful like the girls they saw in magazines and advertising, or they were doing their own thing and being bullied and excluded for it."

Nobody would argue against the aims of this campaign, but given we live online these days, just how much influence do magazines have over young women in the age of social media?

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