All Walks have been active in the support of a variety of initiatives this autumn, the launch of the Be Real campaign which acknowledges us as lead ambassador along with Dove, Facebook and the Government Equalities Office, is testament to our influence in the field of Body image.

Our continued work with politicians as part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on body image has really begun to make an impact and some of you may have noticed the launch of the Be Real Campaign on Oct 13th as part of the Body Confidence Week.

The new campaign looks at Britain’s relationship with body confidence and seeks to build a body confident nation by addressing a variety of initiatives in dedicated areas like fashion and retail, education, advertising. It notes some significant numbers of people affected by body image anxiety.

• 16 million people in the UK ‘depressed’ due to the way they think they look

• 18 million people do not exercise due to body anxiety

• One in four say body image has held them back from a fulfilling relationship and one in five have avoided going for a job they wanted

Caroline Nokes MP, chair of the APPG for Body Image, says: “Low body confidence is a critical public health issue that we cannot ignore. It affects everyone – all ages, both sexes – and starts as young as five years old. Be Real wants to change attitudes to body image, and help all of us, whatever our size, ethnicity or ability, to put health above appearance and be confident with how we look and feel.

She continues: “Through this campaign, we’re driving change through three priority areas. We want to ensure children and young people are educated about body confidence from an early age, to promote healthy living and wellbeing over weight loss and appearance, and to encourage the media, business and advertisers to recognise diversity and positively reflect what we really look like.”

All Walks have helped to shape the campaign with our ongoing contributions around the power of image and fashion messaging. We believe that the next three years which have been made possible by the stewardship of Deborah Potts of YMCA England, will herald some important changes., the first of which was the new and improved Body Confidence Awards held at Parliament on October 16th, more about that in another post. Below are the aims of a campaign that could have a fighting chance of instilling improved body confidence in future generations.

Be Real Banner

Be Real Banner

Real Education

We want to give our children and young people a body confident start to life so that they can achieve everything they want to.

We’re calling for:

• Schools to take a whole-school approach to promoting body confidence across early years, primary and secondary education;

• Parents to set a positive example and encourage body confidence;

• Young people to support each other to be body confident as they grow and develop.

We’ll support this by:

• Gathering and sharing best practice, information and resources;

• Raising awareness and understanding of the issue, and building the case for change;

• Piloting programmes in partnership with schools, early-years providers and out-of-school groups to ensure the right information and resources are available to help build body confidence.

Real Health

We want to ensure that healthy living and general wellbeing are prioritised over appearance and weight. We want to see a dramatic change in the way health initiatives encourage and support everybody to be healthy and happy.

We’re calling for:

• The healthcare sector and those in the diet, health and fitness industries to promote long-term healthy living and wellbeing ahead of a short-term approach focused on weight loss and appearance;

• Individuals to celebrate feeling good and being healthy, and encouraging them to promote brands and initiatives that support body confidence and challenge those which don’t.

We’ll support this by:

• Gathering and sharing best practice, information and resources;

• Raising awareness and understanding of the issue, and building the case for change;

• Piloting programmes in partnership with public health, sports and nutrition providers to ensure body confidence is rapidly integrated into health and wellbeing programmes.

Real Diversity

We want media, businesses and advertisers to positively reflect what we really look like – whatever our age, gender, ethnicity, size and shape, and regardless of whether we have a disability.

We’re calling for:

• Media, advertisers and publishers to use images that show what we really look like so we can feel more confident about who we are;

• Individuals to use their power as consumers by buying from businesses that support body confidence and challenging those who don’t.

Caryn Franklin

Former fashion editor and co-editor of i-D Magazine for 6 years in the early eighties, Caryn Franklin has been a fashion commentator for 33 years. She presented the BBC’s Clothes Show for 12 years and BBC’s Style Challenge for 3 years as well as producing and presenting numerous documentaries for ITV on designers including Vivienne Westwood, Philip Treacy and Matthew Williamson.

Working in education throughout her career as external assessor and lecturer in colleges like Central St Martins, London College of fashion and Royal College of Art, she is also an ardent fashion activist and has co-chaired the award winning Fashion Targets Breast Cancer for 18 years and proposed the London College of Fashion Centre of Sustainability and is its ambassador.

Follow Caryn on Twitter: @Caryn_franklin