Getting home today, firing up the laptop to visit eBay and clap my hands, squealing “fight, fight!” over a bidding war on a Karen Millen skirt I’m selling, a story catches my eye.

Any story on the controversy of Photoshopping, particularly images of women in advertising and magazines, always jumps out at me. I admit, I’ve Photoshopped my own images, particularly as a self-conscious teenager. Never to the extent that I changed any permanent feature, but the pressure was there nonetheless to “clean myself up” in some way.

The story was about a group of girls from SPARK, a movement dedicated to “engage girls as part of the solution rather than to protect them from the problem” of the sexualisation of women. A handful of teenage girls did just that, performing their own catwalk outside Times Square’sTeen Vogueoffices with 28,000 signatures asking for the publication’s models to reflect real teenagers in the real world.

I visited their website, wondering who these fiery girls were and where they came from. One of the most captivating parts of their website (which I’ll leave to you to discover) is a series of images headlined “Powered by Girl Library Really!?!”. I was soon furrowing my brow and thinking “really!?!” myself as image after image flashed by, sometimes insanely Photoshopped and over sexualised – one advert for a car trading website uses breasts to advertise – a small girl poses provocatively in high heels in another children’s clothing line ad.

We get so used to these images that sometimes it takes a whole slew of them to make us realise there is a problem here.

Thank you, SPARK girls, for being part of the solution.

More: visit the SPARK site here.


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