UPDATE: You can now see my interview from yesterday’s Today Show here….
Kate Ellis, Minister for Sport and Youth
Glad you asked. It’s the idea of Kate Ellis, federal minister for Sport and Youth who is 31 and astonishingly impressive. One day, I hope I can vote for her to become Prime Minister.
Anyway. In her work with her portfolio, Kate travels the country constantly and meets a huge number of people. Many of them young and many of them telling her that negative body image is a serious problem.
This is backed up by a Mission Australia survey last year which showed that among people aged 11-24, body image was one of their top three concerns. I’m not sure what the other two were but given there are a few heavy ones to choose from – global warming, the imploding economy, terrorism – the fact that body image is in the top three? That’s big.
So Kate decided to ask Kevin for some money to put together a voluntary code of conduct for the media, advertising and fashion industries. He gave her $125,00. Thanks Kevin.
She wasn’t finished. To help her put together this code and to advise the government on a national strategy to improve body image among Young Australians, she appointed a diverse group of 11 people to an advisory board. I was one of those people, chosen (I assume) because I have long been passionately out-spoken on the issue and have a background in magazines and media.
Other members of the group include Sarah Murdoch (model & media personality), Sarah Cornish (editor of Girlfriend who lead the media pack on a responsible approach to body image – more about that in another post), Professor David Forbes and Professor Susan Paxton who are both at the forefront of medical and psychological work on the subject of eating disorders, Belinda Seper (Australia’s leading independent fashion retailer and a force to be reckoned with in the industry), Claire Vickery (founder of the Butterfly Foundation), Raina Hunter (YWCA), Kerry Graham (Inspire Foundation), Helen Gazal (fashion industry businesswoman and mother of 4 teenage girls), Chris Warren (MEAA – the union which governs performers and the media) and Amanda Scott (NSW Youth Advisory Council).