Dove and Butterfly Foundation call for a National body image inquiry

Dove is again partnering with Butterfly Foundation to call for a National Inquiry in the hope to bring about real change to harmful body ideals in Australia.

As part of Dove’s ongoing commitment to help the next generation of women develop a positive relationship with the way they look, Dove is again partnering with Butterfly Foundation to call for a National Inquiry in the hope to bring about real change to harmful body ideals in Australia.

Through the Dove Self-Esteem project, recent research commissioned by Dove has revealed that young Australian girls are struggling with their body image, with more than half (58%) admitting they are dissatisfied with their overall appearance and 46% reporting they are often upset with the way they look.

Negative body image is not only a key risk factor in developing an eating disorder, it also can have a serious impact on all aspects of a person’s life, including limiting their health, happiness, and future potential.

Among those surveyed, concerningly 59% reported they are not satisfied with their body weight, 61% with their body shape and 63% with their face and facial features, revealing the real cost of unrealistic body ideals for young Australians. Having a negative body image can lead to a host of issues, including low self-esteem, constant preoccupation with one’s appearance, an unhealthy fixation on weight, shape, or size, and mental health issues like anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

In order to address this important issue, Dove and Butterfly are launching a petition calling for a National Inquiry into Body Image. The petition aims to kick-start a national conversation about what policies and programs may be needed to bring about real change in body ideals in Australia, including understanding the prevalence and full impact of body dissatisfaction, and the role played by social media.

Allira Potter, Butterfly Foundation Body Pride Ambassador has dedicated her work to promoting body acceptance and celebrating diverse body shapes since experiencing body image pressures in her youth.

Allira is encouraging others to step up and support this very important cause. Allira said: ‘We all have the power to use our social media networks to raise awareness of the petition and the need for a National Body Image Inquiry. By signing the petition, we have the ability to enact serious change and shift the
conversation around body dissatisfaction in our vulnerable youth’.

It’s been 14 years since the last national effort to investigate the issue, with the National Advisory Group on Body Image created in 2009 to develop a national strategy, including a Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on body image. This Code of Conduct is no longer in use, and is now out of date. For example, the Advisory Group launched one year before Instagram and a decade before TikTok gained popularity in Australia; so now is the time to fight for systematic change.

Christine Weatherby / Kate Westgate, Dove Marketing Manager Australia shares, “This call for a National Body Image Inquiry in partnership with Butterfly Foundation is the next necessary step to truly understand the reality and impact of body dissatisfaction in Australia, so that industry codes, policies and programs can be put in place to reduce the potential for harm within online and real-world environments, and to protect and support the body image of children, young people and adults.

Dove is calling for all Australians to sign the petition, increase awareness of this issue and ultimately drive change for young Australians impacted by body dissatisfaction. For every name added to the campaign, it takes us one step closer to succeeding in creating change”.

Dove and Butterfly Foundation have been working together for 17 years, providing evidence-based resources to school-aged children to help them learn how to overcome appearance pressures and access tools to improve body confidence.

Butterfly Foundation’s Head of Prevention, Danni Rowlands states, “By calling for a National Body Image Inquiry, we can raise the alarm with parliamentarians and highlight just how many of Australian MPs’ own constituents are affected by this serious issue.

Demonstrating how many people who sign the petition live in each electorate will create a groundswell for systemic and cultural change in response to toxic body image ideals.

Butterfly also encourages individuals to contact the electoral office of their local MP to advocate personally, should they wish to do so”.

With constantly changing societal pressures and the evolution of social media, it has never been more important to call for a comprehensive investigation into body image. A forum to hear from researchers, clinicians, professionals who work with kids, parents, people with lived experience and others about the problems and potential solutions is critical for supporting the current generation of young peoples and protecting the generations to come. We ask the Australian Parliament to establish a National Body Image Inquiry so that every Australian child can grow up with the body confidence they deserve.

Take action now and sign the petition today: https://www.dove.com/au/petition.html

Help and Support

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:

  • Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 ED HOPE3 (1800 33 467) or [email protected]
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14

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