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Motion: Australian of the Year - Taryn Brumfitt

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. H.M. Girolamo:

That this council—

1. Congratulates Taryn Brumfitt, body image activist, director, writer and speaker on her 2023 Australian of the Year award;

2. Highlights the outstanding contribution Taryn has made to educating young people and their parents around the world to foster body positivity; and

3. Recognises the impact that body image has and how it can influence how we engage with our world.

 

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise to speak with some pleasure today on behalf of the Greens in support of this motion and to shed light on the remarkable achievements of the 2023 Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt. She is an Adelaide-born body image activist. Taryn went viral—as they say—in 2013 after posting what is seen to be an unconventional before-and-after photograph on social media, capturing the attention and hearts of millions. The viral image depicted her transformation from a bikini competition-ready physique to one that embraced curves and self-acceptance. The photograph sparked a global movement and empowered individuals to love and embrace their bodies, irrespective of societal norms or unrealistic expectations. She said:

Which is crazy in itself, right? A woman learns to embrace her body, and it becomes headline news in most countries around the world.

Using the momentum of that viral photo, Taryn extended her advocacy to recognising the profound impact that media and advertising have on body image perceptions. She directed and produced a powerful documentary called Embrace. Through intimate interviews and personal stories, Taryn exposed the damaging consequences of body shaming and inspired viewers to redefine beauty on their own terms. That film resonated deeply with audiences, sparking a dialogue about body image and prompting individuals to question and challenge the existing standards of beauty.

Taryn has worked extensively with young people particularly and recognises the vulnerability and impressionability of adolescents who are facing the pressures of continued access to social media, on top of all the other pressures of adolescence itself. She runs workshops and public speaking engagements—empowering opportunities—which have impacted on countless individuals to develop healthy relationships with their bodies and to prioritise self-love over self-criticism by promoting body positivity and self-care. She has instilled a sense of resilience and confidence in young minds and has taught people to move, nourish and respect their bodies.

I had the pleasure of meeting Taryn at a Hutt Street Centre fundraising lunch, I believe it was, a few years ago. She is quite an extraordinary woman who has taken a very simple thing that has a profound impact on so many in our society and turned it into an incredibly positive movement. Taryn's achievements remind us all that true beauty lies in self-acceptance, self-love and the ability to celebrate the diversity that exists within each and every one of us.

She is a very deserving winner of the 2023 Australian of the Year Award. On behalf of the Greens, I certainly congratulate her for that.

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