Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt says it’s time to reframe body image conversations and make more of an effort to include men.
Ms Brumfitt, who is in the process of creating her third documentary and providing body image resources for schools, said she was “humbled, excited and deeply honored” to have received the award.
Her next project will target boys and men and says they too need to find gratitude for their bodies and image.
“This has long been a field dominated by women, (but) it’s for everyone,” she told 2GB.
“I’ve met a lot of men who had a lot of stories about male body image; they just don’t talk about it.”
The body image advocate revealed it took “some time” to embrace her body, but now she wants to help every Australian do the same.
The creator of the Body Image Movement’s journey with Embrace began after the birth of her three children.
“I struggled with my body image after having my kids,” she told ABC News on Thursday.
“I (eventually) learned to accept my body. It took some time but I did it and for me it felt like winning the golden ticket.
“Through my daughter I learned to embrace my body and now we will go out into the world to help all Australians embrace their bodies too.”
The 45-year-old went viral after posting a “before and after” photo, with her earlier picture being one from her bodybuilding days and her later photo showing her carrying more weight but feeling comfortable in her own skin .
Ms. Brumfitt has written books and released two documentaries over the past decade as part of her campaign to spread the message of self-knowledge – which has already reached 200 million people.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said every Australian knows someone who is afflicted with body image issues – some even fatally – and Ms Brumfitt’s work is important in changing the conversation.
“The message from Taryn is to be proud of your body and who you are, and that everyone should be appreciated for who they are. Not just talking about their body weight, but talking about the whole range of topics, regardless of the color of their skin or their height — just love your body, that’s a really good message,” he told ABC Radio.
“I think Taryn will make a tremendous difference this year, just as Dylan Alcott has been Outstanding Australian of the Year over the past 12 months by addressing the issues of people with disabilities.”
Ms. Brumfitt wasted no time using her platform after calling a meeting with her team “in the early hours” to accelerate her campaign to reach one million school children.
“Our goal was to (reach) one million school children in the next three years. I was talking to my team in the early hours this morning and I said, ‘Do you think we can do it with this Australian of the Year now in the next 12 months?’” she said.
“We all agree that we’re going to do this.
“We want as many Australians as possible to know about (Embrace Hub) because it has evidence-based resources to help you nourish your body. To respect it, to embrace it, to enjoy it.
“Now is the time to have a national conversation about how we feel about our bodies, because going to war with them is not our purpose in life.”
Originally released as Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt says work needs to be done to help men accept their bodies