Life and Advice

Girlfriend Body Image Policy

Read our Girlfriend Body Image Policy.
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Girlfriend wants teens to feel informed, valued, happy and unique, and we celebrate the things that make them just that. We also want our readers to have a clear understanding of what goes into creating an image, and are transparent in our communication of that. It’s because of this that the following policy was put in place.

* Girlfriend is committed to including a range of body shapes, looks and ethnicities within its pages. 

* Girlfriend is committed to using age-appropriate models wearing age-appropriate clothing. ! Girlfriend does not use suggestive or overtly sexual imagery of teens. 

* Girlfriend is committed to promoting good role models, and from time to time will ban celebrities who show a lack of self-respect from appearing in the magazine.

* Girlfriend does not use or glamourise images that could display a negative body image to teens, and is committed to providing support and expert advice to teens on body image. 

* Girlfriend does not publish diets or content about how to lose weight, but rather focuses on improving self-esteem and exercise as a necessary tool for health and wellbeing.

* Girlfriend is committed to building media literacy in teens by advising them with our “self-respect reality checks” when images have been retouched. These are also used to communicate to readers how fashion shoots work, and just how many factors contribute to the final image.

* Girlfriend is committed to producing balanced content, covering all the issues that are important to a teenage girl.


1. Under no circumstance will Girlfriend magazine alter someone’s body shape (for example, lengthen legs or change body size) – even if a celebrity requests it. 
2. Moles, freckles and other permanent distinguishing marks will not be removed. 
3. Skin tones should always look natural, and healthy lines should not be smoothed over. 
4. While there is some room for artistic licenses (for example, enhancing hair or eye colours), these should be as close to natural as possible and may not be changed to completely different colours (that is, red to black or green to blue, for example). 
5. If we receive an image that has already been retouched, Girlfriend must advise readers of this. 
6. Blemishes, pimples and other temporary marks may be retouched if this distracts from the point of the image and so long as this does not affect the natural look of the person in the image.


Does the media have an affect on the body image of girls? 
Absolutely – which is why we have our body image and retouching policy in place. We know the power of the media, and we strive to educate teens and show images that represent the world we live in. This is why we’re committed to using reader models – of all different shapes and sizes – in our magazine.

What does Girlfriend do to promote positive self-esteem? 
Since 2006, we have been using “self-respect reality checks” throughout the magazine to indicate when readers have been used, when images have been retouched, and just how much work goes into creating an image – thus demystifying the glamour of the industry. We also don’t publish diets or weight-loss articles, and while we talk about health and exercise, it’s always in context as a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle – never to lose weight. In addition, knowing the powerful effects a compliment can have on somebody’s self-esteem, Girlfriend holds a National Compliments Day every year to encourage readers to spread positivity among their peers.

Why use retouching or “photoshop” at all?
We consider colour correction to be the makeup of the retouching world, instead of outright plastic surgery (that is, full-blown alterations). We want our readers and models to feel special in our shoots, and to look extraordinary, as that’s what fashion shoots portray. While we firmly believe beauty radiates from within a confident, happy person, we also embrace a little lip gloss and acknowledge how good this can make people feel. The same goes with our colour correction; it’s like the foundation and concealer of makeup – making things more even-toned and covering any blemishes without hiding the true beauty.

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