Confirmed victory
Petitioning Cleo Magazine Australia and 5 others

Cleo Magazine: Stop digitally altering images to change appearances #RealGirlsCleo

Reality is beautiful. Stop using Photoshop to alter appearances.

Can you also let Cleo know that you signed and what you think by posting on their facebook page?

It's here: (Australia) (NZ)

In high school, not a day would go by without hearing another girl complain about her weight or appearance. I saw girls get severely bullied and excluded because they didn't live up to the beauty ideals of women in magazines. And it made me want to doctor my own appearance even more. 

My friends and I looked up to the models in Cleo magazine. It was one of the most popular among my classmates. But what I think many of us didn't know is that Cleo was altering the images of women to make them skinny and blemish free.

The altered pictures make readers question their weight, appearance and self-worth. I know this much first hand. They teach us that to be "pretty" you have to be thin and have perfect skin. Studies now show that these damaging images can lead to eating disorders, dieting and depression.

Distorting and editing the appearances of models in magazines is distorting the mental health of girls who read magazines that engage in these practices.

Public pressure is building across the world for magazines to stop altering images of girls. In the US a teenager convinced Seventeen Magazine to publish one unaltered spread a month after thousands joined her petition. I think Cleo should do the same for their readers. 

I want Cleo to stop selling images that hurt girls and break our self-esteem. Let us see real faces and real shapes in at least one photo spread a month -- and always put a warning symbol on any image that has been altered. 

It's time to put an end to the digitally enhanced, unrealistic beauty we see in the pages of magazines. Please sign my petition to Cleo Magazine editors calling on them to give us images of real girls in their magazines. 

And I'd love to hear your stories -- if you're on Twitter use #RealGirlsCleo hashtag. 

To help convince Cleo to get on board, I have launched the "Brainwash Project", which involves the presentation of this petition along with edition one of a new magazine showing what young females want and need in their magazines. To complete it, I need as much help as I can get, please visit: and/or for more information.

Letter to
Cleo Magazine Australia
Cleo Editor Gemma Crisp
Photo Editor Jo Bainbridge
and 3 others
Art Director Yvonne Kanti
Beauty Editor Rachael Mannell
Online Editor Erin Van Der Meer
I've just signed the following petition addressed to: Cleo Magazine Australia.


Reality is beautiful. Stop using Photoshop to alter appearances.

As readers of magazines like Cleo, we know first hand how damaging the photoshopped and digitally edited pictures in magazines can be for our body image and self-esteem. They make us feel inadequate, and start us questioning our weight, appearance and self-worth.

Distorting and editing the appearances of models in magazines is distorting the mental health of girls who read magazines that engage in these practices. The worst part is that most girls don’t realise that this where their body image and self confidence problems have stemmed from.

Girls like myself, a 20 year old writing student in Melbourne, don't want to constantly be made to feel inadequate when we can't make ourselves look as beautiful as the women pictured in magazines. Teenage girls have pimples, frizzy hair and lumps and bumps on their body. Yet the models and women in magazines have all these features wiped away and hidden using digital image editing software. Girls learn by reading magazines full of 'perfect' images of women that they are 'ugly' if they have pimples, frizzy hair or a waist that isn't perfectly sculpted.

The truth is that we aren't ugly, there isn't something wrong with us - the magazines simply edited away all the body features that we could relate to. We need real girls in magazines so that teenagers know what real teenage girls look like. Teenage girls need to know that it's not ugly to have a pimple, it's not a disaster if your hair is frizzy and lots of the women they see in magazines actually don't have a waist as skinny as the one that appeared in last months' issue of Cleo, or Cosmopolitan etc.

Recently a teenager in the US collected 84,000 signatures to support her petition for Seventeen Magazine to print one unaltered photo spread a month. Thankfully, she won.

Despite this incredible victory it is only the beginning and it mainly benefits readers of Seventeen Magazine in the US. We would like to see Australian magazines like Cleo magazine make the same promise to their Australian readers.

I've chosen Cleo Magazine because they are an Australian magazine and because unlike Dolly and Girlfirend Magazines, they have not yet won any body image awards. I'd also like to target Cosmopolitan Magazine but as they are a very large international magazine, the chances of creating change with them without the support of Magazines like Cleo is slim.

Cleo: Follow Seventeen’s example and pledge not to alter body shape or facial features in at least one photo spread a month. Celebrate beauty in all its forms. Let us see real faces and real shapes in every instance that you have the power to do so. If you absolutely have to alter someone for whatever reason, put a disclaimer, or warning symbol on the photo to let us know that it has been altered. Don’t make us ache to look like people who you have invented on a computer screen. 

It’s time to put an end to the digitally enhanced, unrealistic beauty we see in the pages of magazines. It’s time for real girls be recognised and the makeup and Photoshop to take a back seat.



Jessica Barlow started this petition with a single signature, and won with 21,316 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.