JESSICA Barlow has had enough of unrealistic images in Australian women's magazines, so she's making a stand.
And her campaign has attracted nationwide attention, including from the people who really matter — magazine editors.
Ms Barlow, who lives in Knoxfield, says she has always been passionate about improving the state of women's magazines for young girls. "All the airbrushing and Photoshopping in magazines isn't real and it's not attainable," she said.
Ms Barlow, 20, started a petition several months ago calling on Cleo to include one unaltered photospread each month, as well as disclaimers on all photos and advertisements if they have been altered. It now has more than 18,000 signatures.
She said Cleo was the main focus of her campaign for two reasons. "I read it when I was younger, but I also think it's important that Cleo takes up this issue because it is an Australian magazine."
Ms Barlow said Dolly and Girlfriend already had good airbrushing guidelines in place and had the "right idea" about the issue. "It's misleading when skin marks are removed, like pimples because it teaches that pimples are bad and makes people oversensitive."
An intensive social media campaign resulted in Cleo editor Gemma Crisp holding a one-hour online forum with concerned readers. During the forum, Crisp reiterated the magazine's Photoshop policy and thanked everyone for their contributions.
Ms Barlow is now studying a diploma of professional writing and editing at RMIT University and hopes to launch her own magazine next year.
Ms Barlow said she had an "overwhelming" response to a call-out for contributions for her magazine, Brainwash, which she aims to launch during National Youth Week in April next year.
"We got teens saying they want to see real girls in the magazine, as well as calls for non-traditional girl stories like skateboarding."
To sign the petition or find out how you can get involved, go to facebook.com/brainwashproject.