Seventeen doesn’t stick to its own “Body Peace Project” terms

For a few years now, Seventeen magazine has reserved a section of their magazine and web site for their Body Peace Project, which features Body Peace role models, a Body Peace Panel that provides advice for readers, a blog, and other body-positive features. The basic mission of the “Body Peace Project” is to dispel the negative body image so overwhelmingly common in teenage girls as well as promote healthy self-esteem. In fact, in the Body Peace Treaty that girls are encouraged to sign, Seventeen advises readers to “know that I am already beautiful the way I am” and to “not let my size define me.”

Nice one, Seventeen. Can you please explain to me, then, why the rest of your magazine is covered with airbrushed models, headlines that scream ways to get my “best body ever” or make my body “bikini-ready,” and tips to use clothing to make myself look taller and leaner?

Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely believe in body peace. I mean, honestly, that’s one of the most pertinent issues in society today: girls need to learn to make peace with and love their bodies, and I’ll at least commend Seventeen for even featuring a section like this. It’s more than can be said for Teen Vogue or other teen magazines. But really, Seventeen, if you’re going to talk the talk, then please walk the walk.

Just having a page or two dedicated to body peace is not enough if these messages are countered, with a simple flip of a page, with articles on how to exercise my way to flat abs or how to dress myself in clothes that promise to make my waist appear smaller. Seventeen can’t actually support girls of all shapes and sizes with this campaign while simultaneously endorsing poor self-image through its advertising (I’m sick of the same malnourished models frequenting the magazine’s pages) and articles focused on “helping” girls contour their bodies to match an unachievable ideal—that’s the sad truth.

Actions speak louder than words, and until Seventeen actually shows their readers that they support body peace—by featuring more than just thin girls (with not just boobs, but a butt and thighs, too) in the ads they choose to promote and eliminating subtle but powerful messages in their articles that attack our bodies—then they aren’t upholding their end of the Body Peace goal.

And that goal is this: that no matter what weight or height we are, and no matter what skin or hair color we possess, we will learn to love our bodies unabashedly and without shame.

For those that the “Body Peace Project” has helped, that’s no small feat, and congratulations. I still, however, believe that Seventeen’s body peace initiative is not upheld by the rest of the magazine. Seventeen will have to promote positive body image with sincerity before I will be able to fully appreciate their Body Peace Project.

If you would like to contact Seventeen magazine with comments or constructive criticism about the “Body Peace Project,” you can email them at mail@seventeen.com.


9 thoughts on “Seventeen doesn’t stick to its own “Body Peace Project” terms

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  1. I have yet to find a good quality magazine. Vogue, Seventeen, Elle, etc. they all give the same views and ideas. They talk about Body Peace ideas, but in reality they don’t believe in it otherwise their whole magazine would show evidence of it.

    If these types of magazines don’t change I don’t know how they can remain in business. Read one magazine, read them all. They show the cliche image of a woman or teen. Shouldn’t we all be a little bit tired of seeing the little magazine female as an image to emulate?

  2. Magazines aimed at women and girls also push a certain expectation of competition. If I have a bikini body and you don’t, the boys will like me. If I wear this make-up or style my hair a certain way, I will get the man, but you won’t. The most important thing right now for women and girls is to unite. When women are constantly competing, they cannot unite and when they cannot unite, they cannot create the power to stamp out the negativity. Women and girls need to love and appreciate each other’s beauty and praise each other for what they can do and how much they contribute instead of constantly trying to compete. Besides, there are plenty of interesting publications out there to read, like Utne Reader, Mother Jones, the Wall Street Journal or Time Magazine, instead of that garbage magazines like Cosmo, Vogue and Marie Claire put out there.

  3. not just butt and thighs but bellies, people always forget about bellies as they are the least desireable 🙁

  4. Thank you for posting this! I couldn’t have said it better. We need to learn to love our bodies, and Seventeen’s mixed messages aren’t helping.

  5. “But really, Seventeen, if you’re going to talk the talk, then please walk the walk.”

    haha. Well said, and nice advice, eh. Indeed, action speaks louder than words, and girls who will read the Seventeen mag issue, may felt relief that they had been given encouragement through the body peace project, though, when they start to browse the whole magazine, that encouragement will slowly fade, and then will come the insecurity and lowering of self esteem. Sad, but so true.

  6. I do agree. I have been struggling with body image lately (I’ve lost 5 pounds and I am already a healthy weight). I’ve been wanting to be underweight, no matter the cost. I still can’t dedicate myself to the body peace treaty, well not YET. I am a dancer, and I think that in the competitive world of dance a lot of girls are pressured to be skinny :(. I love dance, but hate the pressure.

    ANYWAY, enough of my rambling about myself let’s talk about this article. I DO agree, well, with most of it. You have been able to pick out the major flaw in this project, Seventeen doesn’t carry this project out completely. Although you have failed to say that they have followed this project out partially. You know the section (I don’t know what it’s called) where teens talk about their accomplishments or goals or what they like about themselves and stuff. Well I bet they get TONS of stories each day that teenagers from all over the USA want them to put in the magazine. And they chose a girl who pointed out that in the “Best bathing suit for your Body” issue, that all they suggested for heavier girls was a tankini or frumpy one piece. She stated that she is a self-proclaimed heavy girl and she rocks a bikini every summer. She says you can rock anything with the right amount of confidence. So out of thousands of stories they chose that one. Isn’t that carrying the Body Peace project out? They also had a whole section with a heavier weight model (gorgeous, I forget her name) giving heavier girls advice for dressing to make them feel confident and sexy. It was very refreshing to see a model that could still look awesome while being heavier. Also (last thing I promise) in one magazine they had a section that was what clothing would look best with your body type. They curvy model looked great, and it gave advice to curvy girls on how to dress your curves to your advantage. The model I believe also won some modeling award (as stated in the corner of the page). So those are some ways that they did carry out the Body Peace Project.

    Otherwise, I agree with you.

  7. I felt self conscious about my weight and well every little part of me. Have a look at this website http://www.007b.com/ its devoted to educating women on what REAL breasts look like. I was amazed and for the first time in years I looked in the mirror and didn’t think my breast were hideous.
    Drop the magazines and look at http://www.007b.com for a while, its better for body peace than anything I’ve seen or read in a magazine

  8. Quite frankly, I don’t think that girls should be reading these magazines. Period. There better things out there to read. These magazines are pure BS. Those magazine are created to sell products and poor body image. I would much rather read a good novel than read the crap that is Seventeen magazine.

  9. The best thing I ever did for my body image was cancel all my fashion magazines and subscribe to Scientific American instead!

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