Mamamia Cares: The Butterfly foundation's Body Con is on.





The Body Con is a national competition launched by The Butterfly Foundation focusing on debunking the myths and pressure surrounding body image. Society, brands, products and the media all play a role in the message that our value is tied to how we look. The “perfect” body looks thin, tanned and with makeup just so. But it’s not realistic and it’s not a helpful belief.

It’s easy to disregard negative body image as vanity but it’s not hard to imagine the stress of living with constant disapproval of your own body. “There is a misunderstanding that we must be thin in order to be happy, successful, popular and valuable,” says Kath Courts, from The Body Con.

“So if you don’t look like the poster, then suddenly that means you are not good enough. You begin to move away from things you enjoy because of shame about your body and who you are. It becomes easy to diet or become obsessed with exercise, you think that if you could “fix” your body you could “fix” yourself.”

*Emma has struggled with body image since she can remember. “I look at pictures of myself when I was younger and I see this girl, smiling and laughing. I don’t know what happened to her, but that ease and joy seemed to disappear.

“I remember feeling too big in my school uniform, I used to sit by myself at the back of the playground and read because I didn’t feel like I fit in with everybody else. I felt bigger than the other girls. They’d play kiss-chase and I would sit alone, feeling ashamed and repulsive.

“I have spent a lot of my life feeling awful about how I look. I haven’t dated, or applied for jobs, or gone to parties because I felt that everyone would see me and “know” that I’m unpopular, pathetic and not worth their energy. Feeling dissatisfied with your body is so much more than a shallow concern; it impacted on every area of my life.”

The Body Con

According to a recent survey conducted by Mamamia, 90% of respondents said the way they feel about their body had stopped them doing something they like. Add to that, research from Dove finding that 6 in 10 girls quit an activity they enjoy because of negative body image.

And it’s not just females who are struggling. Boys as young as 8 report feeling bad about their bodies, while it’s reported that more men are using steroids and unhealthy practices to conform to the “ideal” image of a toned, muscular physique.

“This is an opportunity to contradict conventions of beauty and to reveal the truth; that we are diverse and that everybody is valuable – no matter what they look like,

“The images that we find ourselves faced with can be interpreted as encouraging people to deny needs, wants and bodies to try and attain perfection. Inevitably we develop disordered eating, anxiety and low mood as we “fail” to look like the images plastered on every advertising surface,” said Kath Courts.

The Body Con awards night will feature a media panel discussing the issues surrounding body image and advertising. Industry insiders will be present to share their insight into the world of media and advertising and discussing if and how it is possible to more accurately represent the body.

Through the use of video, entrants are asked to create an advertisement to highlight that fact that “perfect” does not exist. Through advertising the truth, the diversity of people, and that image isn’t everything, we hope to support acceptance of all body types.  The finalist’s videos will be launched at The Seymour Centre in Sydney on October 9th.

For more information on how to enter The Body Con, with prize money of $1000 for first place, visit  Entries close 30 September 2013.