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Cleo bows to pressure over retouching policy with ‘open discussion’ online

Cleo's response on Facebook

Girls magazine Cleo has responded to mounting pressure to stop airbrushing images of young girls by holding an online forum next week to discuss the matter.

The decision to respond to the petition, started by a woman who wants to launch her own photoshop-free magazine a fortnight ago, was announced on Cleo’s Facebook page.

The response reads:

As you guys may have noticed over the past few days, there’s been a lot of discussion on our Facebook page about retouching. Please be aware that we have been listening to what everyone is saying. We realise this is an issue that many of you are passionate about, however we feel that the voice of some of our regular readers is getting lost in the discussion. So we’re taking this opportunity to announce that we will be holding an open discussion about CLEO’s retouching practices. This discussion will take place online on Monday September 3 2010 from 1-2pm at http://cleo.com.au/forum.htm. Look forward to talking to you then.

The petition, started via Change.org, has raised more than 15,395 signatures and its own Twitter hastag, #RealGirlsCleo.

The woman who started the campaign, Jessica Barlow, said that she hope Cleo’s response “isn’t just a PR exercise.”

She said: “It’s taken 15,000 signatures on my petition and hundreds more Australians posting on Cleo’s Facebook page, but the magazine has finally begun to respond. If Cleo is serious about having a genuine discussion about their photoshopping policies and the lack of ‘real girl’ images in their magazine, then they should be congratulated.”

She added: “I really hope this isn’t just a PR exercise, because there’s a huge amount of momentum behind the call for Cleo to act responsibly on body image issues. It will be really insulting if they get feedback and then don’t act on it.”

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