Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Day 24: Upping the ante Down Under

It's been yet another long day of work (I'm definitely out of practice!) but I justed wanted to highlight an interesting campaign I noticed - thanks to The Beautiful You website.

It seems like the Australians are getting serious when it comes to the fight against negative body image, particularly amongst young people. I've only just become aware of this - these topics weren't really on my journalistic radar last year - but in June 2010 the Australian government released a Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image for the fashion, media and advertising industries.

The code suggests that the industries use a diversity of body shapes, sizes and ethnicities, that advertising campaigns support positive and healthy body image behaviour and that they stop propagating unrealistic images of beauty through digital manipulation of photography. The code also advises the industries to use models of healthy weights, to only use models over 16 to model adult clothing and it advises retailers to stock a wide variety of sizes. That's all pretty cool. I'm not sure if any other country has anything similar although I've written earlier in this blog about the Campaign for Body Confidence that the UK's Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone and member of parliament Jo Swinson run, with similar aims. 

It seems, however, that the media, fashion and advertising industries Down Under aren't paying much attention to the new guidelines, showing that change will take a while to come in an arena where so many people make so much money out of marketing beauty products, diet plans, botox and so on. To try to speed things up, campaigners have launched this online petition to Australian Minister of Youth Peter Garrett, calling on him to pressure the industries to do more to promote positive body image. The petition is organised by the Equality Rights Alliance, a network that advocates for women's equality and diversity, and it closes tomorrow. So if there are any Australians reading this and you'd like to add your name, follow the links and sign up.


  1. Katherine, it's not really a surprise that our Aussie media are ignoring this. The recommendations were launched with a big splash but quickly faded away. I hope the petition has an impact!

  2. Thanks, SandyK and Manu, for your comments and interest in my blog. Lovely to hear from you!