By MAMAMIA TEAM
Unless you’re in your teens, it’s probably been a while since you last tuned into Neighbours. But now there’s a new reason to watch: Australia’s longest-running drama is taking on some issues many of us can relate to – negative body image and eating disorders.
Imogen Willis played by Ariel Kaplan is discovered to be suffering from Bulimia Nervosa but it was Eve Morey who plays Sonya Mitchell in the show who pushed the eating disorder storyline with Executive Producer Richard Jasek.
Morey was inspired after watching the documentary, Miss Representation and through her own body image-related issues.
“For most women, the perpetual pursuit of the ideal physicality is a social norm and I have yet to meet a woman that hasn’t in some point of her life experienced an unhealthy attitude towards her body,” Morey says.
The 30-year-old believes that mainstream media is saturated with imagery that “serves to disempower women” through the relentless “critique of the female shape” and that it’s this reason that many women (and men) end up dissatisfied with their bodies and in some cases, developing eating disorders.
“For a show that is primarily watched by a young audience, I believe that the exploration of these themes is imperative,” Morey says. “We have a social responsibly to not only create content that is engaging on an entertaining level, but is also able to reflect and represent issues that audiences young and old may be experiencing, in this case, engaging them to think with regard to the complex manifestations and damaging effects of these social issues.”
Two characters in the show experience unhealthy behaviours around food and the writers were careful to investigate their experiences with differing motivations and contributing factors to mirror the diverse and complex issues in society.
The producers worked closely with the Butterfly Foundation in developing the script to present a true and sensitive portrayal of eating disorders.
“The Neighbours writing and production team were committed to ensuring that the storyline was realistic, accurate and didn’t cause harm to anyone viewing the scenes,” says Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan.