"These topics are not always easy." Taryn Brumfitt on helping our kids love their bodies.

Taryn Brumfitt has spent almost a decade on a mission to help women embrace their bodies.

Now, the director, best-selling author and founder of the Body Image Movement is turning her attention to the next generation with the release of an inspiring new book and documentary, EMBRACE: KIDS.

"I couldn't be more thrilled with the reaction to the film," Brumfitt told Mamamia.

"We've had audiences clapping and kids yelling out, 'Woo hoo!' You don't know what you've got until you put it in front of the people you made it for," she added.


"My team and I felt we had a really good film on our hands and we put a lot of heart, effort and energy into making it the way we did, and I'm so happy that people are getting it and really loving it."

The powerful combination of seeing 18 kids from diverse backgrounds bring their unique stories to the screen, with a mix of celebrities such as Jameela Jamil and Celeste Barber, packs an emotional punch. 

"The kids were so supportive of each other and worked beautifully together and they all gave me such a sense of hope. It was great to create more meaningful impact in the world."

Brumfitt hopes the film's core messaging around the big themes of body image, bullying, gender identity, advocacy, representation and more will resonate with kids, but also and importantly, parents.

"I made the film for kids. But it's really a film for families to see together. And I think it's really important to go see it in a cinema on the big screen as a shared cinematic experience," she said.

"The power behind that is really what's going to happen on the way home in the car and the conversations around the dinner table. Because we unpack a lot of big subjects in the film and these topics are not always easy to talk about. This film is an important conversation starter."

After Brumfitt released her hugely successful 2016 film EMBRACE that was screened in over 190 countries and reached number one on iTunes in the US, UK and Australia, the most common piece of feedback she got was audiences saying they wished they had seen the film when they were younger.


Taryn Brumfitt behind-the-scenes filming EMBRACE: KIDS. Image: Supplied. 

"I knew we needed to get into the hearts and minds of kids sooner. And I focused on how do we prevent another generation of people hating their bodies? How do we help kids build a foundation of values based on who they are and what their bodies can do, as opposed to just what they look like?


"Recent studies suggest body image is the number one issue effecting our children and we want to be part of the solution."

With many parents worried about the impact of social media on their kids, Brumfitt says that while everyone is quick to blame social media, it's good to take a broader view.

"We know from another study that just seven minutes a day spent scrolling on Instagram can cause body dissatisfaction and depression. However, that's if you're looking at bodies and appearance-based images. If you're on social media looking at cat videos, craft projects, or inspiring role models who are doing good in the world, then it's a much safer space to play. 

"We've all got to really take responsibility for who we allow into our lives, especially on social media."

Brumfitt said that parents need to lead the way with role modelling body positivity or neutrality at home.

"I don't want parents to feel bad. The number one thing we do is role model positive body image behaviour at home by not saying anything bad about our body or anyone else's. 

"What we say and do in front of our kids matters. They're sponges. They're hearing everything we say about our bodies and if we really want to have a big impact on our kids' body image, then it starts with us."


Listen to Taryn Brumfitt on Mamamia's This Glorious Mess podcast. Post continues below.

As a guest on Mamamia's This Glorious Mess podcast, Brumfitt shared four ways we can guide our kids to feel more positive about their bodies.

"The four areas we focus on in the film are functionality - all the things your body can do: run, jump, sing, craft, be creative. We also focus on celebrating diversity and the different ways we arrive on the planet or become. Our different sizes, shapes, and abilities of bodies. We teach kids in the film to be kind to themselves. We can't be kind to others if we can't be kind to ourselves. And the fourth area is finding role models who are contributing in meaningful ways to the world."

Since the filming of EMBRACE: KIDS wrapped, the feedback Brumfitt has received from the kids and families involved in the film has been unexpected and emotional.

"They were just thrilled and overjoyed after watching it at a private preview screening, and their response was beautiful. Most of them citing that this is the best experience of their life. 

"My amazing team and I have had flowers and cards from their parents to say that this has had such a wildly profound impact on their lives, just making this film, which is a layer that I never even considered."

With plans to take a classroom version of EMBRACE: KIDS into schools in 2023 and to complete the EMBRACE trilogy with a film that focuses on men's body image, Brumfitt is feeling very hopeful about the future. 


"I wouldn't keep doing this work if I didn't feel like I could make a difference. And you know, its been 10 years since I started and I feel like I have never seen the world more motivated for change.

"As adults, we felt the pain of hiding our bodies, we know what that's like. And we'll be damned if we pass this on to our kids. It's almost that we couldn't do it for ourselves but we can do it for our kids.

"I'm feeling really confident about even more change; we've reached 200 million people already. And I look forward to reaching even more in the future. In fact, I can't wait to put myself out of a job!"

EMBRACE: KIDS is out now in Australian cinemas. Check your local cinema website for screening dates and times.

Accompanying the release of the film is the Embrace Hub, an all-inclusive portal for safe and effective body image resources. The Hub has been designed by Taryn Brumfitt and her colleague, Associate Professor Dr Zali Yager. Find out more about EMBRACE: KIDS and visit the  Embrace Hub here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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