It took two years, but it’s finally here! The Australian Government will be rewarding media, fashion and advertising outlets that promote realistic and natural images, healthy weight models, and a diverse range of body shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
Back in 2009, I wrote about the National Advisory Group on Body Image, a group that included media personalities and representatives from the industry such as Sarah Murdoch and Mia Freedman.
This group advised the adoption of an industry-wide Voluntary Code of Conduct, which included recommendations such as: “Use models that are clearly of a healthy weight” and “Use advertising that supports positive and healthy body image behaviour.” They recognized that adopting these voluntary actions could bring about long-term cultural change.
I was excited to find out that a new advisory panel has been formed to develop the judging criteria, take submissions, and decide on who should be given Positive Body Image awards. Winning magazines, retailers, and advertisers will have to show they have taken steps to embrace positive body image, and they will be able to use a “Body Image Award Winner” symbol on their products.
The panel will be chaired by Helen McCabe, editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly (the nation’s most popular magazine), and will also include various professors and industry heavyweights.
I really hope these awards incite advertisers and magazines to take responsibility over the images and message they portray. Let’s see what happens!