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Body Image Movement founder named Taryn Brumfitt 2023 Australian of the Year

Body Image Movement founder named Taryn Brumfitt 2023 Australian of the Year
January 26, 2023

Body-image campaigner Taryn Brumfitt, known for encouraging women to 'love their bodies', has been named 2023 Australian of the Year.

The Adelaide-based former bodybuilder, received her award at a ceremony in Canberra yesterday evening for her work with the Body Image Movement, which she founded in 2012.

The movement teaches people - young women in particular - to love and appreciate their bodies has sparked a global phenomenon reaching more than 200 million people.

It began when Brumfitt explored how her body had changed after the birth of her three children.

Posting a simple ‘before-after’ photograph on Facebook in 2013, showing how her body had changed after childbirth, the image was seen by more than 100 million people around the world.

Expanding her career as writer and public speaker, she directed the 2016 documentary Embrace (shown in 190 countries and streamed on Netflix) exploring how she learned to love her body and why so many women are unsatisfied with their bodies.

She has also written four best-selling books, while her latest documentary, Embrace Kids, aims to help children appreciate and understand their bodies.

In her acceptance speech, Brumfitt said body image shaming had become an epidemic, commenting "we weren't born into the world hating our bodies, this is something the world has taught us

"Body-shaming is a universal problem, and we have been bullied and shamed into thinking our bodies are the problem.

"What if, instead of spending precious time and energy at war with their bodies, our young people were free to become the leaders, big thinkers and game changers the world needs more of right now?"

She said promoting a healthy body image was not about encouraging obesity, stating "it's about the way that we feel about all of ourselves: our skin colour, our height, our age, our gender, our unique selves - and it is learning to move, nourish, respect and enjoy our bodies.

"Because you can't look after something you don't love.

"It is not our bodies that need to change, it is our perspective.

“Collectively we are facing some of the most challenging environmental, humanitarian and social issues of our time.

“'What if, instead of spending our days consumed by hating our bodies, we could invest our time together to solve these challenges?

“What if instead of spending their precious time and energy at war with their bodies our young people were free to become the leaders, big thinkers and game changers the world needs more of right now?

“It is not our bodies that need to change, it is our perspective.”

Brumfitt went on to say that people have been “bullied and shamed into thinking our bodies are the problem” adding “we're facing a paediatric health emergency with rates of suicide, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and steroid use related to body dissatisfaction soaring.”

She also went on to criticise fitness influencers who she said were making women's low self-esteem a million-dollar industry.

Among the night’s other awards, Socceroo star Awer Mabil, who works to improve other refugees' lives, was named the Young Australian of the Year, Professor Tom Calma, who has spent decades improving the lives of Indigenous people, was named the Senior Australian of the Year and Amar Singh, a Western Sydney Sikh who feeds the needy and champions tolerance, was named Australia's Local Hero.

Images: 2023 Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt (top, credit: Taryn Brumfitt/Instagram), the mother-of-four Taryn Brumfitt's 2013 Facebook post showing her body before and after childbirth was seen by more than 100 million people (middle. credit: Taryn Brumfitt/Facebook) and News Ltd's headline about her award (below).

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25th January 2022 - Paralympian Dylan Alcott named Australian of the Year for 2022

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17th May 2021 - Survey reveals how COVID has changed women’s fitness and diet routines

14th October 2020 - AFL’s Tanya Hosch named South Australia’s Australian of the Year

26th August 2019 - Female leaders gather for Ignite Women’s Fitness Business event

19th July 2019 - Anytime Fitness responds over Sunshine Coast gym’s ‘fat shaming’ message board

18th March 2019 - VicHealth report says women are ‘shamed’ into quitting fitness activities

24th September 2018 - Weight Watchers ends use of ‘weight’ in branding

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20th April 2018 - Mishfit founder looks to revitalise Curves franchise in Australia and New Zealand

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