By Denise Mann

Television host Katie Couric is calling this the summer of  “girl power.”

She is referring firstly to a 14-year-old girl who successfully lobbied  Seventeen magazine to only show images of teens and women as they really are, without airbrushing or photoshopping.

Seventeen editor Ann Shoket published a draft of the “Body Peace Treaty” in the August 2012 issue. The magazine promised to feature only “models who are healthy,” “never change girls’ body or face shapes” and provide more transparency about its photo shoots by posting images of the shoots on the magazine’s Tumblr blog.

Now two 15-year-old girls are taking Teen Vogue to task and asking them to “keep it real”

This is a big deal, and reflects growing sentiment among young girls, boys, parents, health educators, health professionals, teachers – and really anyone who interfaces with children and young adults.

 Many of today’s young girls (and likely boys) feel pressure to look well …photo shopped (i.e. flawless).  These often-unrealistic images in the media add fuel to the fire, and can make an already self-conscious tween or teen feel even more insecure. As a result, there have been surges in eating disorders, anxiety disorders and mental health problems diagnosed  in today’s youth.  Bullying – which is often based on appearance – is also out of control, and can have fatal consequences. The desire to be perfect is also likely fueling reported upticks in teen plastic surgery.

These welcome editorial policy changes affect more than just teen girls. They call into question our very ideals of beauty.

Plastic surgery and plastic surgeons once tasked with sculpting the perfect feature have also been traversing toward more natural-looking results. This trend shows that the ‘keep it real ‘sentient is also leaving its footprint on the cosmetic surgery industry.

From breast augmentation to facelifts, patients are seeking subtlety, and surgeons, by and large, are meeting this mark. (Of course, there are always outliers and the women – and men – who rely on them.)

There’s nothing wrong with a little Botox, a nip here or tuck there or even a full-on overhaul, the issue is more about transparency, honesty and integrity. For a plastic surgeon, this starts with authentic before and  after photos.

Society is changing, and the only way that a specialty that prides itself on beauty and artistry can remain relevant is to embrace these changes and keep it real. You go girls!