National charity for eating disorders and body image issues, the Butterfly Foundation has today announced the launch of a new campaign imploring people to think before “shaming” their lockdown body. As Australians emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, many having been locked down for the better part of two years, the campaign urges posting with kindness and consideration, and calls for Aussies to avoid accidental triggers in sharing or re-sharing memes, jokes or commentary around weight gain, needing to lose weight or extreme dieting.
“It’s easy to bemoan the impact of lockdown, and while we know that many of these posts are in jest, what people may not be aware of is that these posts could be inadvertently triggering for the more than one million Aussies living with an eating disorder,” says the Butterfly Foundation’s National Manager of Prevention Services, Danni Rowlands.
As part of the Foundation’s campaign, it has released a series of self-care and support steps, intended to help Australians cope with both the pressures of coming out of lockdown in real time, as well as how to manage these feelings while consuming and posting social media content.
“After being confined to our houses for months on end, it’s normal to feel anxious about returning to a pre-lockdown life. It’s important we are kind to ourselves and our bodies during this time,” says Danni. “People’s worth cannot be defined by appearances; although it can be hard to remember this when we are bombarded by social media content that says the complete opposite.”
In combating these feelings, the Foundation suggests being mindful of the things you post: sharing with sensitivity and being aware of the fact that commenting on others’ appearance or body shape is never okay, especially considering lockdown is likely to have heightened feelings and sensitivity.
Reporting and blocking upsetting content is also important. As the Foundation points out, “if something upsets or triggers you, and you feel like it is unsafe information,” reporting it will flag the content with the platform, “which can take immediate effect in reducing the harmful content you see.” Another useful strategy is to mute conversations or take breaks, from content that is unhelpful but also content overall. Muting or unfollowing specific people can help protect your body image and self-esteem by reducing what you see, read and hear.
While the damaging effects of social media are becoming increasingly well-known, being aware of heightened emotions and anxieties as restrictions ease across Australia will allow for better and healthier social media practices and consumption overall.
Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:
Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
For urgent support call Lifeline on 13 11 14