The fashion, media and advertising industries play a significant role in shaping the cultural ideals of society. Messages about beauty portrayed in popular media can contribute to body image pressures on young people in particular.
The National Advisory Group on Body Image, appointed by the Australian Government in 2009, developed the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct to provide national guidance on this important issue. The Code aims to build on and further encourage the positive steps that are being taken within the fashion, media and advertising industries to bring about long-term cultural change.
The Code outlines Principles to guide industries to adopt more body image friendly practices. It encourages more diversity in the selection of models, a wider range of clothing sizes in retail fashion, the use of realistic and natural images of people, and disclosure when images have been digitally manipulated.
It is an important call to action – asking industry professionals to move beyond a ‘business as usual’ approach and to be open and innovative in considering how the Code’s principles can be applied in their work. Some Principles may be of more relevance for particular industries than others or in certain contexts.
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