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Taking the ‘positive body image’ talk to the catwalk [2010]

Taking the talk to the catwalk: The Australian Government will be taking real action to promote positive body image amongst young Australians, with an investment of $500,000 to support the new initiatives.

The fashion and media industry has suffered numerous criticisms in the past, with controversies such as using ‘size-zero’ models on the catwalk, and exploiting negative body images that have been digitally-retouched in magazines

In response to the National Advisory Group’s concern for the fashion industry, Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, introduced the government’s Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image at yesterday’s conference.

Ellis announced that the newly-proposed initiatives will assist in building young people’s resilience to negative body image pressures whilst promoting leadership and positive cultural change.

“I am calling on industry professionals to work in partnership with the Government and the community,” Ms Ellis said.

“If we move beyond the ‘business as usual’ approach, and take real action to promote positive body image, it will definitely showcase real and positive change within these incredibly influential industries.”     

A recent report discovered that an alarming 87% of the models in the fashion industry are presenting a body shape that is beyond impossible for most young women.

The Code not only expects organisations to illustrate ongoing body image friendly principles within their business practices and policies, but body image friendly initiatives and products as well, such as campaigns to increase young people’s media literacy about digital-retouching in magazines.

A new national ‘Body Image Friendly Awards Scheme’ will also be launched, rewarding industry organisations who exhibit genuine commitment and action towards the support for positive body image. This involves the ‘Body Image Friendly’ symbol which can be utilised as a marketing tool, signalling to consumers that its organisation’s brand or product embraces positive action on body image.

“This symbol builds on the momentum for changes that already exists in the fashion, media and beauty industries. It has great potential to become a point of differentiation for products being sold in the market,” Ms Ellis said.

The Australian government hopes that the new initiative will not only encourage and initiate healthier and positive practices of showcasing positive body image on the catwalk, but within the media and advertising industries as well.


Jun 28th, 2010



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