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.
In 2009, the Australian Government developed a voluntary code of conduct for the fasion industry which 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.
This is such a positive progression in an industry that has been traditionally plagued by the unauthentic representation of women.
The Code of Conduct includes the following Principles:
1. Positive content and messaging
Use positive content and messaging to support the development of a positive body image and realistic and healthy physical goals and aspirations among consumers.
Use a diverse range of people that are appropriate to their target audience.When considering diversity, particular focus should be given to including a range of body shapes, sizes and ethnicities.
3. Fair placement
Use advertising that supports positive and healthy body image behaviour. Advertising that contradicts positive body image messages will not be used.
4. Realistic and natural images of people
Do not use digital technology in a way that alters images of people so that their body shape and features are unrealistic or unattainable through healthy practices. Make consumers aware of the extent to which images of people have been manipulated.
5. Healthy weight models
Use models that are clearly of a healthy weight.
6. Appropriate modelling age
Only use people aged 16 years or older to model adult clothes or to work or model in fashion shows targeting an adult audience.
7. Fashion retailers supporting positive body image
Stock a wide variety of sizes that reflects demand from customers