Nearly a third of women say they avoid wearing a swimsuit in public due to concerns about their weight. This summer, the Butterfly Foundation is calling on Australians to join its campaign ‘Summer of Kindness’ to help combat body image pressures and the rise of eating disorders during the holiday season.
Summer can mean fun, getting silly in the sun, and relaxing for some— but for people living with an eating disorder or experiencing body image issues, the summer holiday period can be incredibly anxiety-inducing.
Dr. Ranjani Utpala, Butterfly’s Clinical Director, explains, “Warm weather typically means less clothing and for people dealing with body image issues this can lead to a hyper-focus on their body, feelings of social anxiety and for some may even result in obsessive body-checking behaviours. This becomes further compounded by pressure from peers, media and social media to look a certain way, encouraging appearance-based comparisons.”
This is compounded by several factors that accompany the holiday season, like the lack of routine, advertisements promising you the ‘perfect bikini body’ by Christmas, and holiday parties (sometimes filled with insensitive relatives that somehow always feel the need to comment on people’s bodies!).
Melissa Wilton, Butterfly’s Head of Communications and Engagement says, “The media does a great job of perpetuating the message that our body needs to change for summer or in the New Year. We’re bombarded with advertising and content that revolves around weight loss or tells us we need to get ‘summer ready,’ as if the body we occupy for the rest of the year is now suddenly not good enough for the warmer months. For someone with existing body image issues, this can be particularly distressing and ignite or reaffirm feelings of body dissatisfaction.”
This is why Butterfly is determined to disrupt and dismantle diet culture these holidays by providing an alternative message; one of being kind to our bodies and others, this summer and beyond.
Butterfly’s Summer of Kindness raises awarenesses about the changes that occur in body image throughout the summer months — a concept that Australian researchers have coined ‘seasonal body image’. The campaing provides practical tips, advice, and resources on how to navigate diet culture during this time, improve body image, and remain focused on eating disorder recovery. The campaign is also aimed at raising critical funds for its vital programs and services that support Australians living with eating disorders and body image issues.
To join Butterfly’s Summer of Kindness or pay it forward with a donation to Butterfly head to:
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 13 11 14