Thursday, April 24, 2008

Australian Government Releases Body Image Code of Conduct

The Victorian Voluntary Media Code of Conduct on Body Image was just officially launched in Australia. The code contains four clauses that address the following issues:

· The use and disclosure of altered and enhanced images;
· Representation of a diversity of body shapes;
· Fair placement of diet, exercise and cosmetic surgery advertising; and
· Avoiding the glamorisation of severely underweight models or celebrities.

Youth Affairs Minister James Merlino urged the media, fashion and advertising industries to adhere to the guidelines, though of course a voluntary code means that there are no penalties for ignoring it. “The many expressions of support across these industries is encouraging, but there is much to be done if we are to address body image issues in the media that can have devastating effects on young people’s lives," said Merlino.

Here's hoping that the Australian media and fashion industry will take the responsible route. But while we're waiting to see how that pans out, it's pretty clear that their government is seriously committed to raising awareness about body image issues. The Brumby Government's Go for your life initiative has committed $2.1 million to body image programs over the next four years. They also give mini grants of $5,000 to body image programs run by and/or aimed at youth ages 12-25. One of last year's recipients was Girls Together, a project started by a group of 12 to 16-year-old girls. [Media Newswire]

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