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Australia takes action with the inaugural Positive Body Image Awards

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!


3 thoughts on “Australia takes action with the inaugural Positive Body Image Awards

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  1. This sounds like a pretty good idea, rewarding the media for positive reinforcements, but I’m curious as to what they consider a healthy weight.

  2. This has been around for more than a year, and the chairperson for the National Advisory Board for Body Image Mia Freedman has publicly conceded that the body image initiative was a failure. Many were critical at the time of the voluntary nature of the code of conduct, citing that it had no teeth. In Australia many of us believe legislative changes need to take place, similar to what has happened in Spain with the banning of plastic surgery and some diet advertisements appearing on TV before 10pm. The problem with this board was too many financial conflicts of interest.

  3. Adriana – Yes, the original voluntary guidelines have been around for awhile (see my original post on these), however the awards are new. I’m hoping that they will give businesses the incentive to actually abide by the guidelines. I agree with you about legislative changes – hopefully this will snowball!

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