A group of influential Australian women have pledged to go makeup free to take a stand against negative body image and help raise $250,000 to support body image education in schools and eating disorder support services.
Launched this week, charity movement Makeup Free Me has received support from a diverse mix of media personalities including television presenter Shelley Craft, Neighbours star Saskia Hampele, singer Christine Anu, media personality Marni Ewing and actress Abby Earl (pictured).
Together, they’re leading the charge of Australian women who are championing the importance of positive body image by registering to go makeup free on Friday 29 August to raise funds for the Butterfly Foundation.
Makeup Free Me founder Merissa Mathew said that the initiative was about rallying together to pause and reflect beyond how we look and consider how we feel on the inside.
“77% of women believe too much emphasis is placed on the way we look and we agree.”
“Going makeup free is about acknowledging the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves, each other and that we absorb from the media and social media on a daily basis,” she said.
Makeup Free Me supporter and actress Saskia Hampele said she felt this pressure to conform to unrealistic standards working in the television industry.
“My confidence, sense of security and self-image have taken a hit as a result of this exposure and scrutiny. And while I continue to struggle with these issues, I feel that the more we talk about them, the less power they have over us,” she said.
Mathew said that while going makeup free for a day was a bit of fun challenge, underpinning it was a very serious issue.
“Negative body image can manifest into many forms, from feeling uncomfortable or dissatisfied with a part of your body to becoming fixated on trying to change your body.
“Unhealthy practices like fad dieting, excessive exercise, binge eating or diuretics use are common and left unchecked, can develop into eating disorders.”
Studies show approximately 9% (two million) Australians will experience an eating disorder requiring clinical intervention at some point in their lives.
Research into Australian women’s feelings and attitudes towards body image conducted by GfK Australia research on behalf of Makeup Free Me show:
- Only 35% of women are proud of or happy with the way they look
- 73% of women would like to change their physical appearance
- More than half (52%) avoid certain activities because of negative feelings about their body
“Our research shows that most of us have negative feelings about our bodies, and in some instances this prevents us from getting involved in the activities our friends and families are doing,” says Matthew.
“It starts with us. If we can take the pressure off each other and ourselves, we’re that step closer to helping women and girls be comfortable in their own skin, inside and out, with or without makeup.”
Makeup Free Me is calling on women and girls to register here to start raising awareness and funds for the cause.