The fact that 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies should be a shocking statistic—but it’s not. Most Australian women have heard a female friend, family member or colleague make a negative comment about their bodies, and plenty have made one about their own.
It’s this statistic that BodCon, an online body acceptance and positivity community, is trying to reverse with their new virtual program, The BodCon Confidence Series. The program, which is helmed by 2023 Australian Of The Year, Taryn Brumfitt, aims to “educate, empower and inspire women to cultivate body confidence and improve self esteem” —something we need right now, more than ever.
Because although it might seem like the conversation around body image has evolved—tabloids aren’t so quick to focus on a celebrities’ body in a bikini and films have (almost) stopped making jokes about weight—there’s still enormous pressures of social media, rising popularity of prescription weight loss drugs and of course, our own deeply ingrained perceptions of ourselves to contend with.
Joining Taryn on the series with workshops on Navigating Life’s Body Changes, Mastering Interpersonal Relationships and Negative Self-Talk, is naturopathic physician and The Spa Dr. founder, Dr. Trevor Cates, as well as psychologist & Attachment Theory expert, Dr. Morgan Anderson.
Ahead of the program’s launch, we spoke to Taryn about the real impact of speaking negatively about our bodies and why it’s so important that we stop.
It Reduces Our Strength
There’s no doubt that 2023 has been a big year for women in almost every field. From sports to entertainment and advocacy, it’s safe to say we’re killing it.
But it comes to embracing our bodies, we still have a long way to go.
“I’m desperate for women to know how much they sideline themselves in life by saying negative things about their bodies,” Taryn tells marie claire Australia.
“Saying negative things about our body diminishes our power, and we need all our power and our strength.”
While there’s a number of (very legitimate) reasons why us women have struggled to accept our bodies for so long, we’re also the only ones who can pave a new way forward.
And let’s be honest, if anyone can do it—it’s women.
Change Begins With Us
If you have ever complained about your body to a friend then you’re not alone. It’s easy to fall into the habit of criticising our bodies in front of those we’re comfortable with, and as long as we’re saying anything about their bodies, it’s harmless right?
Well, according to Taryn, not so much—these comments (and thoughts) can be more contagious than we might think.
“We need to be mindful of what we say about ourselves and other people’s bodies,” Taryn explains.
“The fastest way to change is if we all collectively stop saying anything negative about anyone else’s bodies or our bodies ever again. If we all did that, that would be a very fast route to profound change for us as individuals, communities and the planet.”
If the situation is in reverse, and you’re the one listening to a friend or family member criticise their body then Taryn says this is also a good opportunity to create change. Instead of brushing over the subject or changing the topic, try leaning into the conversation.
“I think we need to start having those uncomfortable and at times difficult conversations with friends and family,” Taryn says.
“It’s about having those really interesting conversations to talk about ‘what was it like for you growing up?’ ‘How did you arrive at those values?’”
Next time you’re about to say something negative about your body, pause and consider leading by example.
Life’s Too Short
If you need another reason to stop criticising your body then Taryn reminds us that life is simply too short to be worrying about our bodies so much.
“We get 28,000 days” Taryn says, “Not a lot of time. We’re not meant to be talking about how the jeans don’t fit or the next diet or how much we hate our bodies.”
“We weren’t born into the world hating our bodies. It’s something that the world has taught us.”
Find more of Taryn’s wisdom and body confidence tips in the brand new The BodCon Confidence Series.