AND THE NOMINEES ARE ...
So the first ever Body Confidence Awards are just about to take place at the Houses of Parliament this Thursday in the UK.
Here on Little Island of Pop and Frocks just to the left of Mainland Euro Catastrophe, we have reason to celebrate. The Body Confidence awards are proof that some things are influenced by more than money, commerce and celebrity.
For when people from diverse professional backgrounds... politicians, psychoanalysts, fashion commentators and health practitioners come together round a table with an idea and then a few good women run with it, something happens!
Picture Caption: All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, promotes a realistic body ideals in the high fashion arena. Image by Rankin
And this something could be a Game Changer, turning the spotlight on those who have woven conscious thought into the business of making money by considering self-esteem.
With nominations for large corporates alongside small niche business, from advertising and education through to fashion, health and fitness and broadcast, the awards are about shining a light on the way forward.
"With these awards we want to publicly recognise positive steps taken by industry groups, businesses and campaigners," say's Jo Swinson MP for East Dunbartonshire, host for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image event. "In highlighting their leading work and body confidence initiatives hopefully they will inspire others to follow in their footsteps."
Nationally loved TV presenters like Gok Wan and bestseller authors like Caitlin Moran stand alongside Internationally renowned designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon and Mark Fast who are all nominated for the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk fashion award, for their inclusive use of character models: older and curvier than the standard catwalk waif we normally see within their brand messaging.
Lesser known organisations like Changing Faces and Pink Stinks both of whom overturn stereotypical perceptions of appearance and gender respectively, will share the 'nominee nerves on the night,' with clothing giants M&S, Debenhams.
And for those companies attending, perhaps with CEOs in tow, bemused by the fanfare, coming from left of field, as one of the organisers, I can't resist a small nugget of unasked for advice...
Being recognized for emotionally considerate practice, while downing a few glasses parliamentary vino on the Terrace Pavillion at the Houses of Parliament is not just a business perk. It is in fact A STRATEGIC MARKETING TOOL for those clever enough to recognise the importance of listening to, and responding to, consumer dissatisfaction over manipulative media images and claims.
Credos an advertising think tank recently reported that 76% of young women do not want to look at imagery aimed at them that is 'fake' or 'too airbrushed.' But are advertisers and corporates listening yet? These awards supported by huge institutions like Mumsnet and the Girl Guides Association will make sure they do. Having worked with large corporates myself, I know that change takes time when there is fearful resistance of the unknown and any perceived challenge to route to profit.
"The media influences us all and affects the well-being of young women and men so it is important to acknowledge examples which promote body confidence and counteract the damage. Advertisers and marketers can be so imaginative. These are examples of the direction to aim in," say's Susie Orbach from AnyBody whose own work with Dove and the Real Beauty campaign has been a feel good trail-blazer, delivering increased sales and global appreciation from women everywhere.
And so in a looks-obsessed society where 47% of girls think the pressure to look attractive is the most negative part of being female and 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body, we wait with bated breath for the name in the envelope to announced...perhaps this time though... EVERYBODY WINS..
Follow Caryn Franklin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Caryn_Franklin