News__ DITCHING THIN
Australian Youth Minister, Kate Ellis has teamed up with the Federal Government (and other organizations such as The Butterfly Foundation) to try and promote a realistic and positive body image in Australia's fashion market. Ellis said that she is "determined to stop the glamorization of unhealthily thin women, which has been blamed for children suffering eating disorders." Ellis developed a system where fashion magazines and designers will be rewarded for limiting the unnecessary retouching and promoting ultra-thin models. If the following criteria is followed, those will be rewarded with a "tick of approval":
- Disclose when images have been retouched and refrain from enhancing photographs in a way that changes a person's body shape, for example, lengthening their legs or trimming their waist, or removing freckles, lines and other distinguishing marks.
- Only use models aged 16 or older to model adult clothes - both on catwalks and in print.
- Refrain from using models who are very thin - or male models who are excessively muscular.
- Stocking clothing in a wide variety of sizes in shops to reflect the demand from customers.
- Using a broad range of body shapes, sizes and ethnicities in editorial and advertising.
- Not promoting rapid weight loss, cosmetic surgery, excessive exercising or any advertisements or editorial content that may promote a negative body image.
"The symbol is a win for consumers," said Ellis. "It will empower consumers to tell the fashion, beauty, media and modeling industries what they want and provide greater choice." On top of this, the Australian government has committed $500,000 to develop new education programs that with the help of eating disorder group, The Butterfly Foundation. The school program will see 2500 educators trained to teach 100,000 students aged between eight and 18 about positive body image, covering topics including topics such as media literacy and self-esteem. Teen magazine, Girlfriend, and Australian Women's Weekly are already on board.
Amy Odell of The Cut tried to initiate some discussion on the issue--with little luck as commenters used the spot to discuss U.S egos in relation to the World Cup--reminding readers that since Ellis's criteria is not a law, it might be difficult to institute such a massive change in an industry that isn't really ready to give-up on thin. This may be the case, but what's most astonishing here is the government's funding and intervention on the issue. Don't forget that the most progressive, revolutionary teen magazine of the 90s, Sassy, was born in Australia's fashion industry. Their track record for success in promoting an alternative to the norm has been successful. Either way, it's a big step in the right direction and hopefully this trend of educating media literacy, positive body image and health makes it's way over to North America. Fast.