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Seventeen magazine makes it official: No more air-brushing

Seventeen magazine

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Seventeen magazine took a step forward in the debate over digitally altered photos by declaring it will never change girls' faces or body shapes from now on.

The decision comes after months of pressure from a viral online petition started by 14-year-old Julia Bluhm in April. The petition, which asked the magazine to print one unaltered photo each month, attracted nearly 85,000 signatures.

In a letter to readers that will appear in the magazine's August issue, editor-in-chief Ann Shoket said  the entire staff of the magazine had signed a pact, which includes a pledge to "celebrate every kind of beauty" with a range of body types, skin tones, heights and hair textures. The magazine will also post details of some photo shoots to its Tumblr site, including what elements of photos are changed before they go to print (eliminating a piece of flyaway hair or a big fold in a piece of clothing, for instance).

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Many people took to social media to praise Seventeen's decision, saying it's a big step forward and will help prevent the practice of promoting unrealistic body types, so common in the pages of magazines (even those aimed at men).

Katie Couric tweeted she was "Happy to see Seventeen mag is going anti-airbrush, hope more continue to follow" while Dan Cooke, a weather anchor in Hawaii, tweeted "As the father of a teenage girl, a sincere thank you" to the magazine for their decision.

But some commenters, such as those on the New York Times Facebook site said the policy discriminates against naturally attractive women and that it's just sour grapes by the unattractive.

Do you think this decision is a move in the right direction?

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More

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