Australia’s leading national organisation for eating disorders and body image, the Butterfly Foundation, is kicking off this year’s Love Your Body Week from Sunday 3 September 2017, with a challenge to everyone: De-objectify yourself on social media – use the “My body is great because…” frame and join the social media counter movement for #LoveYourBodyWeek.
Love Your Body Week, developed in partnership with Sportsgirl, promotes body confidence in all Australians. All Australians need to learn to celebrate their bodies by challenging everyone to think about what makes their bodies great, and encouraging a positive body image to shift away from what we look like to what makes our bodies amazing and unique.
For the sixth year in a row the Mission Australia National Youth Survey has identified body image as one of the top three issues of concern for young people aged 15 to 19 years of age in Australia¹. The same survey recorded almost a quarter of young people aged 15 to 19 identifying depression as the fourth highest concern, up from 18.7% five years ago.
New US-Australian research into the use of social media platforms and their impact on young women² found that young women tend to internalise the beauty ideal when they use social media platforms that are image based for more than 30 minutes a day.
“Given the increase in popularity of image-based social media platforms within adolescents, it is critical to look at ways that help to mitigate negative effects,” said Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation.
“Butterfly is issuing the challenge to Australia’s 756,000 young people aged 15-19 to tackle social media head on and participate in the My body is great because… challenge on social media to help de-objectify these public spaces.”
“We’re asking you to have real conversations about your physical and mental health and to try to avoid participating in the social media activity that promotes body objectification. For one week we are asking you to counter social media activity that glorifies body idealism and social gratification with your My Body is great because… pictures and statements.”
Ms Morgan kicked off the campaign with her own statement: “My body is great because it is made up of about 37 trillion cells that work in perfect harmony to support my busy life.”
The Butterfly Foundation are working in partnership with Instagram to identify ways where users can have access to help seeking information instantly via the 1800 ED HOPE Butterfly National Helpline.
“However, the problem isn’t so much with the actual social media platforms but how people are prioritising social validation of their physical appearance. The #LoveYourBodyWeek challenge focusses on this behaviour.”
Ms Morgan points to the need for social media validation and the anxiety around the public commentary that ensues as a significant contributor to this situation.
“Consequently young people are becoming more and more engaged in self-objectification in the way they present themselves, in an attempt to portray the beauty ideal as presented in its edited form by the media influencers and mimicked by followers. The consequent inner monologue of self-objectification, appearance-based talk and body comparison can be unremitting, with little understanding of how detrimental it is for self-esteem and mental health.”
“This becomes a vicious cycle and is particularly damaging to young people. Even if they seem strong, resilient and confident people they may still be vulnerable to these influences resulting in a negative body image which is a precursor to mental health problems like eating disorders.”
For more information visit the Butterfly Foundation website: https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/
1. Mission Australia 2016 Youth Survey: https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/documents/research/young-people-research/677-mission-australia-youth-survey-report-2016
2. Fardouly, J., Willburger, B.K., Vartanian, L.R. (2017) Instagram use and young women’s body image concerns and self-objectification: Testing mediational pathways, Media & Society