Dove and Butterfly Launch Petition Calling for a National Body Image Inquiry
In order to bring about real change to harmful body ideals in Australia, Dove and Butterﬂy Foundation are calling on all Australians to sign a petition ﬁghting for systematic change.
Sydney, Australia – 8th May 2023
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 Iimage 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
About the research:
Research commissioned by Dove ANZ and conducted by Toluna Australia in November 2022 who surveyed All Mothers (n=423) [Australians: 255; Kiwis:168], All Girls (n=423) [ Australians:255; Kiwis: 168]); Australians & Kiwis kids aged (10-17).
Key stats & insights:
- More than half of the girls (58%) are unsatisﬁed with their overall appearance 46% of Aussie girls are always/often upset with the way they look
- 59% are dissatisﬁed with their body weight 61% are dissatisﬁed with their body shape
- 63% are dissatisﬁed with their face and facial features
- Only 21% of Aussie girls are often proud of their body and 19% are happy with their weight
Dove has a long-standing commitment to creating a world where beauty is a source of conﬁdence, and not anxiety. The Dove Self-Esteem Project (2004) helps the next generation develop a positive relationship with the way they look so they are not held back by appearance-related concerns and anxiety and can realise their full potential. So far, we’ve reached the lives of 69 million young people across 150 countries. And by 2030, we’ll have helped 250 million through our educational programmes, making the Dove Self-Esteem Project the largest provider of body conﬁdence education in the world. https://www.dove.com/au/dove-self-esteem-project.html
The call to sign the petition for a National Government Inquiry into body image and the #DetoxYourFeed campaign is part of the ongoing work of The Dove Self-Esteem Project, the world’s largest provider of body conﬁdence education globally, reaching more than 82 million young people across 150 countries through initiatives. The launch of the Conﬁdence Kit has been a part of Dove’s Self-Esteem Project, which aims to help 250 million kids worldwide with self-esteem education by 2030. In Australia, The Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached 2 million Aussie kids since 2006 and aims to reach 2.2 million by the end of 2023.
About Butterﬂy Foundation:
Butterﬂy Foundation is the national charity for all Australians impacted by eating disorders and body image issues, and for the families, friends and communities who support them, representing the voice of lived experience.
Founded more than 20 years ago, Butterﬂy changes lives by providing innovative, evidence-based support services, treatment and resources, delivering prevention and early intervention programs and advocating for the needs of our community.
Throughout its work Butterﬂy emphasises the critical importance of prevention and early intervention strategies in limiting the development of, and suffering from, negative body image and eating disorders. Butterﬂy’s National Helpline, 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673), includes support over the phone, via email and online by trained counsellors experienced in assisting with eating disorders and body image issues.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect one million Australians at any one time. It is essential that the reporting of eating disorders is dealt with sensitively using a ‘do no harm’ approach.
We encourage all media to refer to the Mindframe Guidelines when reporting on eating disorders, help for eating disorders, people who have an eating disorder, or people who are at risk of an eating disorder.
Butterﬂy knows from experience that calls to their national support line and other helplines are directly related to media coverage and we would implore all journalists to act sensibly by including support information in stories about eating disorders. It is important that affected people are able to seek professional assistance immediately
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 support@butterﬂy.org.au
Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14
For more information, please contact:
Account Manager – FORWARD Agency
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Group Account Director – FORWARD Agency
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